Friday, October 2, 2015

Cuba explores opportunities for meat and poultry trade

Following a recent visit by Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to Havana, Cuba, the agriculture ministers of Argentina and Cuba have officially signed an agreement covering bilateral cooperation for the next five years. The agreement focuses on food security, health and safety, and will involve joint ventures, technical cooperation and commercial contracts for livestock, animal products, arable and vegetable products, according to Argentina’s agricultural ministry. For the livestock sector, added-value meats (poultry, pig and beef) will be covered, as well as nutrition and management of dairy cattle and milk technology.
"The agreements with Cuba involve a commitment to strategic cooperation to the Argentine government," Argentina’s Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Carlos Casamiquela, said to his Cuban counterpart, Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero, at the official ceremony. Details will be announced following a technical visit in November.
During the visit, the delegations met with executives of Labiofam, the scientific institution that processes all of Cuba’s veterinary products and develops a wide range of items for livestock, agriculture and consumers. The possibility was discussed of manufacturing some of the veterinary products in Argentina.
Argentina is a key player to meet growing global demand for poultry meat, according to a new GAIN report from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. It forecasts that broiler production will increase to a record-breaking 2.1 million metric tons next year as a result of modest growth in exports. Having lost volume to its largest export market, Venezuela, Argentina is thought to be seeking alternative markets. This search is likely to be successful because of the production capacity and high health status of its poultry.

Cuba and Panama trade opportunities to be discussed

In October of 2015, officials from Panama are due to visit Cuba to discuss trade opportunities, which include the production, processing, packaging and export of poultry products, reports ANPanamà.

US working to restore trade with Cuba

At the end of 2014, executive actions updated the approach of the United States to Cuba, including measures that have the potential to boost bilateral agricultural trade. The first element was re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba, completed in July 2015. According to a report from the USDA Economic Research Service “While diplomatic relations are not a guarantee of increased agricultural sales, they do increase expectations of a more favorable economic and policy environment for bilateral agricultural trade over the medium and long term.”
Between the 2012 and the imposition of trading restrictions in 2014, U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba averaged US$365 million per year, with chicken meat, corn, soybean meal, and soybeans accounting for 84 percent of the value of these exports. Cuba suspended chicken meat imports from the U.S. in June 2015 on fears of avian influenza.

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