Cuban agriculture
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Indiana farmers looking to Cuba

Indiana farmers looking to Cuba
Posted: Sunday, September 13, 2015 5:12 pm
By Maureen Hayden CNHI State Reporter

INDIANAPOLIS – Less than two months after the U.S. Embassy re-opened in
Cuba, Indiana farmers are taking the first steps toward re-establishing
trade with the communist country.
Later this month, agriculture experts will visit Havana to learn more
about selling Indiana crops to a nation that’s been behind a 55-year-old
trade embargo enforced by the United States.
“We have a lot more questions than we have answers,” said Bob White, of
the Indiana Farm Bureau, who’s making the trip with representatives of
corn and soybean growers, agricultural economists from Purdue
University, and others in a 15-member delegation.
White said the embargo, imposed a year after communist leader Fidel
Castro seized power in Cuba, has left the island without infrastructure
to resume trade quickly.
In addition, plenty of political obstacles stand in the way.
“It’s a brave new world there,” he said. “For us, it’s a matter of,
‘Let’s go see what we’ve got to do.”
Indiana farmers export about $4.8 billion in products, from pork to
watermelons. About one-third of Indiana corn is sold internationally,
White said.
Farmers here have eyed Cuba as a possible new market since December,
when President Barack Obama restored diplomatic relations that were cut
off in 1961, a year after former President Dwight D. Eisenhower imposed
the first trade embargo.
Some American farmers have sold products to Cuba since then; Congress in
2000 slightly lifted the embargo to allow limited exports of medicine
and food. But limits are strict, and Cuba must pay cash, in advance and
through a third country, for whatever it buys.

Source: Indiana farmers looking to Cuba – Kokomo Tribune: Local News –

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