Visiting Cuba

Visiting Cuba

Visiting Cuba. I'm Greg Martin with Washington Ag Today.

Last week, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack took a group of four congressional leaders on a trip to Cuba. Representative Suzan DelBene from here in the state was one of those to visit and see first hand how the island nation has been faring.

DELBENE: In talking to the people and especially talking to farmers throughout the region they are using very, very old equipment, tractors from the 40's and 50's. Using old techniques in terms of how they do irrigation for example and so there's a lot of opportunity and interest for them in learning how to modernize their farming.

Imports are key for Cuba but since Cuba is on a cash only basis with the U.S. that complicates things.

DELBENE: They are very, very dependent on imports and they want to understand what opportunities there might be for imports from the United States where obviously we're much closer and the hope is that it would be easier for them to find agriculture products from the U.S.

This was the first official trip for the Department of Ag into Cuba. DelBene was one of three representatives from the northwest.

DELBENE: I think there were a few things that were critical for the northwest. One was just the number of products that we produce here. many, many different types of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are very important to the Cuban market and also diary was very important, something that they have been importing. There was a lot of talk about seed farming.

And that's Washington Ag Today. I'm Greg Martin, thanks for listening on the Ag Information Network of the West.

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