The U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Grupo Empresarial Agricola (GEA) to promote increased cooperation and dialogue between the U.S. and Cuban agricultural sectors.
USACC is a coalition of leading U.S. agricultural organizations and companies dedicated to normalizing U.S.-Cuban trade relations. AEM is a coalition member.
USACC signed the MOU during the organization’s second “Learning Journey” to the island nation. During the Journey, USACC members participated in a four-day series of workshops and break-out sessions between USACC/U.S. coalition members and their Cuban counterparts, including key officials of the Cuban ministries of agriculture, industry and commercial affairs.
“We believe this memorandum serves as a foundation for the mutual advancement of the agrarian economies of both our countries,” said USACC Chair Devry Boughner Vorwerk. “The MOU is designed to be inclusive, encouraging cooperation and dialogue that will benefit everyone along the agricultural continuum—from investors to farmers in the field.”
USACC said the MOU aims to cooperate in the following areas of agriculture development:
- Agriculture financing and credit
- Two-way trade
- Supply chain (logistics and distribution)
- Research and Development
- Farmer training
“This document distills many of the aims of our engagement with Cuba,” said USACC Co-Chair Paul Johnson. “By pursuing the discussions outlined in the MOU, we and our Cuban counterparts will continue to work toward creating cooperative initiatives that will generate a full range of benefits, foremost of which is a reliable, safe and affordable food supply for U.S. and Cuban citizens.”
“At its core, this memorandum is a mutual commitment to learning,” said former Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and a former U.S. Representative from the 2nd District of Mississippi, A. Mike Espy, who is once again traveling with the coalition to Cuba.
Espy also attended last year’s Learning Journey with former Agriculture Secretary John R. Block. Espy and Block currently also serve as directors of Cultivating New Frontiers in Agriculture (CNFA), an international non-profit organization.
“This MOU builds on the experiences culled from last year’s Learning Journey,” Espy said. “And what we discovered during that trip was an overwhelming desire—on the part of both U.S. and Cuban agricultural organizations and enterprises—for normalization of commercial ties in food and agriculture. We hope this memorandum helps to drive us toward that goal—and that policymakers in both countries—particularly those in Congress—join us in this effort.”
To learn more about USACC, please visit www.usagcoalition.com