Cuba

Tighter Cuba trade rules should have little impact on agriculture

The State, Treasury, and Commerce departments unveiled regulations, outlined by President Trump in June, to keep dollars out of the hands of Cuban military and intelligence agencies.

Cuba’s first generation of organic farmers wants to feed the island

In Cuba, a movement of rural, organic farms is trying to both feed the island's people and heal its soil, writes Roger Atwood in FERN’s new story with The Guardian. In recent years, Cuba has been romanticized as an island full of urban farms, but in reality the government imports 60-80 percent of the nation's food and farmers make abundant use of agro-industrial chemicals and synthetic fertilizers on their farms. Yet, an increasing number of growers are realizing the virtues of organic.

White House indicates Trump will not disturb U.S. ag exports to Cuba

President Trump will announce new trade rules with Cuba intended to keep dollars out of the hands of the country’s military and intelligence agencies, said senior White House officials in advance of a presidential speech today in Miami. The officials indicated that food and ag exports would not be affected.

Will farmers feel a chill when Trump cools the U.S.-Cuba thaw?

Nearly two decades ago, Congress exempted food and agricultural goods from the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba, opening the way for modest exports to the island. The 2000 law would be somewhat of a shield for those sales when President Trump realigns U.S. policy toward Havana, scheduled in Miami on Friday.

First U.S. rice shipment to Cuba in eight years, says trade monitor

The nonpartisan U.S-Cuba Trade and Economic Council says the first shipment of U.S. rice to Cuba in eight years apparently passed unnoticed in the ongoing debate over trade with the island nation. Based in New York, the council, which produces monthly reports on commerce involving the countries, says the cargo was worth $252,000 and sailed from the Houston area.

U.S. ag exports to Cuba rise by 36 percent in 2016

The Cuban food-buying agency Alimport purchased $232 million of U.S. food and ag products during 2016, up 36 percent from the previous year, said the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council. The sales total surged with the return of Cuban purchases of U.S. poultry meat, interrupted by the U.S. …

Tourists are eating too much food in Cuba

With record numbers of tourists traveling to Cuba, including from the U.S., visitors are eating more than their fair share of the island's food, says The New York Times. Onions, green peppers, garlic and avocados — staples of the local diet — are now scarce, since they’ve largely been sold to privately-owned restaurants on the island that serve tourists.

Cuba has plenty of fertile farmland, but is far from feeding itself

Cuba imports about 70-80 percent of it food, spending roughly $2 billion annually, but it has enormous potential to produce far more on its own and even export high-value crops to the U.S., due to its incredibly rich soils, says Pedro Sanchez, a renowned tropical soils specialist at the University of Florida.

Trump says he wants ‘a better deal’ with Cuba

President-elect Donald Trump says he will stop recent steps toward reconciliation between the U.S. and Cuba unless the island makes "a better deal," says the Los Angeles Times. U.S. farm and food exports to Cuba flow under a 2000 law, separate from the executive orders used by President Obama to normalize relations with Cuba.

Cleber perseveres despite Cuba’s rejection of factory site

Saul Berenthal, a co-founder of the company that hoped to assemble farm tractors in Cuba, told the Miami Herald, "We're not giving up," after Cuba rejected the proposal. Interviewed at the Cleber tractor booth at a trade show in Havana, Berenthal said the Paint Rock, AL, company will build its tractors in the United States and try to export them to Cuba and other countries.

Cuba wants to expand food production, and get financing from U.S. on food imports

Agriculture Minister Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero told a U.S. audience that Cuba wants to expand farm output dramatically, in part to feed the increasing stream of tourists to the island. The country now imports $2 billion in food annually "but we want to produce at least 50 percent," Rodriguez said at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce during a visit to Washington and Iowa, reported Agencia EFE.

U.S. presses Canada for fairer wheat-grading system

Canada "essentially depresses the entire value" of U.S.-grown wheat that farmers want to sell north of the border, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in criticizing the grading system now in use.

Ag and food sales to Cuba dip in February for second year in a row

Cuba bought $17.8 million of U.S. food and agricultural products during February, compared to $22.8 million during January, said the U.S.-Cuba Trade and Economic Council, which tracks trade between the nations.

What will happen to Cuba’s large organic farm sector?

U.S. farm groups see Cuba, with its $2-billion-a-year grocery list, as a neighborhood market for American-grown food. Less attention has been given to the impact of stepped-up food and agriculture trade, says Timeline.

Agriculture may help end the Cuban trade embargo, says Obama

The United States and Cuba, adversaries since the 1960s, agreed to cooperate in improving food production and conserving natural resources as part of President Obama's visit to Havana.

Obama in Cuba — will ag trade benefit?

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is part of the U.S. delegation in Cuba today as part of President Obama's visit to the island, the first by a U.S. president in 88 years. U.S. farm groups have high hopes for supplying a large share of Cuba's $2 billion a year in food and agriculture imports, although sales have trended downward since peaking at $710 million in 2008.

Obama trip to Cuba will include Vilsack

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, on a trade mission to Peru and Chile this week, will travel to Havana next Monday and Tuesday as part of President Obama's trip to the island, the first U.S. president to visit in nearly 90 years.

USDA wants an office in Cuba

Fourteen months after President Obama began to normalize relations with Cuba, the USDA is asking for money to open an office in Cuba. "The goal is to alert Congress there is an expanded trade opportunity available with Cuba," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told reporters.

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