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US Ag Organisations Optimistic Over Cuba Opportunities

23 March 2016, at 12:00am

US - As part of a thaw in relations between the two countries, new opportunities for collaboration the US' and Cuba's agriculture sectors were announced during President Obama's historic visit to the island.

While in Cuba with President Obama, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA will allow some industry-funded Research and Promotion Programs and Marketing Order organisations to conduct authorised research and information exchange activities with Cuba.

These groups represent US beef, pork, corn soy and other commodities and are responsible for creating bonds with consumers and businesses around the world in support of US agriculture.

Following the announcement, they will be able to engage in cooperative research and information exchanges with Cuba about agricultural productivity, food security and sustainable natural resource management.

Many food and agriculture organisation leaders have reacted by expressing their support.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said that the two neighbouring countries share common climate and agriculture related concerns, and the measures announced today in Havana will mutually benefit the Cuban people and US farmers and ranchers.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall commented: "American-grown foods hold a clear competitive advantage in the Cuban marketplace, and the use of farmer- and rancher-generated funds to promote and market US farm goods fits the checkoff mission perfectly.

"This announcement by USDA represents a major boost in growing the Cuban market that sits just 90 miles off our coast. I want to personally thank USDA and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack for the support shown America's farmers and ranchers in this matter."

Joel G. Newman, President & CEO of the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), said: "AFIA is pleased with Secretary Vilsack's announcement today that USDA will allow Research and Promotion Programs and Marketing Order activities in Cuba.

"This is the first step to the US industry better understanding the Cuban market and to sharing vital information and expertise with Cuba on agriculture production.

"Once existing regulatory and financial hurdles and restrictions have been lifted, this foundation of knowledge sharing and relationship building will serve in providing greater opportunities for US feed and pet food products to Cuba."

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