This year has opened the potential of the trade market between Cuba and the United States, with the U.S Department of Agriculture reporting sales of 1.9 million bushels of U.S. corn to Cuba.
It also has brought to light the need for more engagement between the two countries, especially among market developers like the U.S. Grains Council (USGC). Since the early 2000s, market share has fluctuated between a high of 100 percent in the 2007-08 marketing year to a low of 15 percent in recent years. However, the trade embargo has limited tourism and exports being sold to Cuba from the United States.
“The council has been active in the Cuban market for many years, sending staff to assess possibilities and offer trade servicing,” USGC Regional Director for the Western Hemisphere Marri Carrow said. “But in 2014, when the [President Barack] Obama Administration announced it would seek to normalize trade relations with Cuba, the council viewed Cuba with a renewed energy and began to rethink and ramp up its programming efforts for the island nation.”
The USGC and National Corn Growers Association officer corps went to Cuba last year to mend relationships with government importers and help create demand for U.S. products.