More On Cuba Visit

More On Cuba Visit

More On Cuba Visit. I'm Greg Martin with Washington Ag Today.

Last week we began a conversation with Representative Suzan DelBene who was part of a small delegation led by Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to Cuba. In addition to DelBene the others were Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Reps. Terri Sewell of Alabama and Kurt Schrader of Oregon. The northwest had a very strong showing.

DELBENE: I think there's definitely a great opportunity for Cuba to be a new market for our producers. Cuba does import 80% of its food and they are very interested in organics and organics have been a growing area here in the northwest and something of great interest to Cuba. Also, even equipment and understanding what can be done in terms of access to new types of equipment whether it's tractors they have from the 40's and 50's that they have today, some update equipment would be helpful for them being able to learn so there's a possibility for collaboration that way.

She says they are also very much into urban farming

DELBENE: They have many farms in their urban areas and given the close proximity especially here in Western Washington of agriculture to our large cities, understanding how to work together to make that happen is also an area they're looking at and they'd like to see how others might approach that .

DeBene says the biggest issue right now is Congress.

DELBENE: We would have to make a decision in terms of, for example, credit, allowing Cuba to buy products and use credit. Not just on a cash only basis, that would be one important decision. Clearly, the overall embargo with Cuba is an issue.

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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