IDFA recently joined more than 60 other food organizations and companies in calling for lifting the trade embargo with Cuba and approving funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to add staff positions “on the ground” in Cuba. The organizations said housing USDA staff members within the U.S. Embassy in Havana would make the transition process run more efficiently, help U.S. companies regain a prominent export role in Cuba and advance U.S. agricultural interests.
The organizations made the request last Friday in a joint letter to the leaders of the Senate and House subcommittees that represent agricultural interests on the Appropriations Committees.
“Cuba currently imports up to 80 percent of its food resources with an annual value of nearly $2 billion,” the groups said in the letter. “With increases in tourism from the U.S. to Cuba, demand for food is expected to continue rising, and it’s important that U.S. commodities are offered the opportunity to fill that demand.”
They said staff members from USDA, the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) working directly in Havana could help companies to obtain commodity market supply and demand figures and support U.S. marketing efforts. They also could assist with resolving phytosanitary barriers and safeguard U.S. agriculture from the threat of new pests and diseases.
Read the letter here.
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