End to Cuba embargo would benefit Michigan producers, Cuban development efforts

On this week’s Ag Report on Greening of the Great Lakes, Jim Byrum, president of the Michigan Agri-Business Association, talks about the potential opportunities that could emerge with normalization of relations with Cuba.

“The changes we’ve seen recently proposed by the administration present unique opportunities for Michigan producers,” explains Byrum. “In the future we hope to see exports directly from Michigan to Cuba. We need to end the embargo, however. We need Congress to embrace the administration’s proposals to normalize trade with Cuba.”

According to Byrum, Cuba is a major consumer of black beans and fruit products such as apples, cherries and blueberries. Those products are currently arriving from nations such as China and Brazil as opposed to being exported from Michigan. Byrum says Cuban agriculture is a market we can, and should, integrate with – and he notes that Michigan brings capacity to help the Cuban people boost their own agricultural production.

“It’s time to move forward from a policy that simply hasn’t worked for the past five decades, and Michigan can be in the driver’s seat when it comes to building a meaningful relationship with the Cubans,” says Byrum. “All told this would represent a positive development for the Cuban people, and provide an opportunity for American agriculture to help boost Cuba’s economy.”

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