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Havana. November 7, 2014

Reducing imports a priority for Cuban agriculture

Yudy Castro Morales & Lorena Sánchez

Integrated projects to generate productive chains and replace imports are being promoted to foreign investors at the International Trade Fair underway in Havana (FIHAV 2014) by Cuba’s food processing, forestry, and sugar industries.

Yamila Quintana Medina, specialist in management and cooperation at the Ministry of Agriculture, emphasized the favorable conditions existent in Cuba to support foreign investment in agriculture and forestry.

Among these factors, she mentioned the availability of land; the potential for increasing yields with more irrigation; the country’s well established phytosanitary and meat handling system; as well as the advantages offered by the island’s geographic location, and its highly qualified workforce.

Featured in the portfolio of opportunities for this sector are proposals to establish joint operations in the cultivation of rice, peanuts, fruit, coffee, cocoa, as well as livestock and poultry farming.

In the forestry sector, Quintana Medina described a project to utilize biomass generated during land clearing to produce charcoal, and proposals to expand tree farming, principally in the provinces Ciego de Ávila, Camagüey, Holguín and Granma.

Yolanda Cáceres Rodríguez, president of Cuba’s food processing state enterprise, Coralsa S.A., reported that foreign investment is being sought to generate efficient productive chains, develop processing infrastructure, and thus reduce imports.

Prioritized, she reported, are the production of soybean oil and chocolate, as well as prepared breakfast foods, soft drinks, pasta, condiments and the expansion of shrimp farming.

Jorge Lodos, business director of Zerus, affiliated with the state sugar enterprise group Azcuba, emphasized projects in this sector to modernize mills and improve the quality of sugar products.

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