Farm groups, including the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and U.S. Wheat Associates (USWA) applaud President Barack Obama’s announcement that the U.S. will begin discussions to renew diplomatic relations with Cuba.
The groups say the move by the U.S government could advance export opportunities for agricultural commodities like soy, wheat and corn.
Cuba is the largest wheat market in the Caribbean, with the potential to import at least 500,000 metric tons of wheat from the U.S. each year.
"U.S. wheat farmers are excited about the prospect of exporting more wheat to Cuba," says NAWG President Paul Penner. "NAWG has long supported strengthened trade relations with Cuba and see this as a historic step in that direction."
USWA President Alan Tracy noted that the U.S. market share in Cuba could grow from its current level of zero to around 80-90 percent, as it is in other Caribbean nations.
The U.S. has allowed ag exports to Cuba since 2001, but financing restrictions have limited the competition of U.S. products.
American Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman said Obama’s latest move could ease those restrictions.
"The president’s opening to Cuba promises to improve trade conditions by making it easier for Cuba to buy U.S. agricultural and food products," he said.
U.S., Cuba Changes Could Advance Ag Trade
U.S. Wheat Farmers Anticipate Increased Trade Opportunities with Cuba