Cuban agriculture
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Cuba Drops Genetically Modified Crops

Cuba Drops Genetically Modified Crops
June 17, 2015

Although not in Cuba, public protests have been held in numerous
countries in the region against Monsanto and the use of genetically
modified seeds. The sign reads “I don’t want to eat transgenics.”
They made tests in 2011 but then stopped.

HAVANA TIMES — Cuban authorities said today that the island has no plans
to open up to the controversial use of transgenic seeds, despite the
possibilities offered by them to increase agricultural production,
reported dpa news.

“To date we haven’t even considered working with (the US company)
Monsanto,” said Manuel Rodríguez, the CEO of the Cuban Ministry of
Agriculture company that produces seeds.

“The policy of the country thus far is to not negotiate with anyone to
produce transgenic seeds,” said Rodriguez. The use of such crops is not
contemplated for “biosecurity” reasons, said Rogelio Pupo, another official.

The rapprochement with the United States has generated in recent months
expectations of increasing production and trade possibilities of Cuban
agriculture.

The island has been trying for several years to improve its poor
agricultural output. Cuba imports the majority of the food consumed, as
well as the necessary farm inputs. It also has a big farm infrastructure
deficiency.

Rodrigues noted that although some tests with transgenic crops were made
in 2011, the country has no plans to resume them. “A GM program was
established at some point. It advanced a little and it was stopped,” he
said.

With the improved relations between Cuba and the United States, the US
agricultural industry has shown interest in the island.

The thaw with the United States has also raised interest in companies
from other countries to trade with Cuba, said Rodriguez. “There is an
increase (in contacts), especially in Europe,” he added.

According to the Cuban Agriculture Ministry, the island imports about a
third of its seeds for cultivation of vegetables and tubers.

Monsanto is one of the world leaders in the production of genetically
modified seeds to increase productivity. However such crops are under
increasing criticism in Europe and several Latin American countries.

Source: Cuba Drops Genetically Modified Crops – Havana Times.org –
http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=112027

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