USDBC in Havana, Cuba to attend Agribusiness Conference

September 20, 2019

The U.S. Agricultural Coalition for Cuba (USACC) together with FocusCuba hosted an agricultural business conference in Havana, Cuba from September 10 – 13, 2019 to discuss future trade prospects. Cuba has a history as a significant market for exports of U.S. agricultural goods, including dry beans, despite the prolonged embargo. However, with very little liquidity available, and lack of credit for purchases from the U.S., Cuba has turned to other sources and U.S. market share has declined to negligible in some cases. While the overall financing scenario has not changed, the current Farm Bill allows U.S. agricultural trade groups to spend USDA funded export promotion grant money on efforts to reestablish a market in Cuba once implementing language is established. While awaiting the release of language, we, along with our commodity trade group partners are exploring current export opportunities.

USDBC Rep Ellen Levinson (third from right) and other U.S. agricultural reps in Havana, Cuba Source: USACC/Granma

To that end we attended the recent USACC conference in Havana.  The conference included sessions on: Cuba food import process, Cuban agricultural policy, Cuban plant and animal health, sector breakouts with Cuban counterparts, visits to a farmers market and state owned market, and an update on Cuban food technology. Meetings were held with Alimport (food purchasing entity), Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Foreign Commerce and Investment, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The group also visited a Farm Cooperative of Credit and Service in Artemisa Province and participated in a market supply tour in Havana. We will be reporting on specific opportunities for US dry beans and next steps in a separate report.

Posted in: Bean Bulletin