Article Posted: 04/03/2007 5:35:46 AM
NDA, Soybean Officials Work on Deal to Send Soybeans to Cuba
LINCOLN – The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) is partnering
with the Nebraska Soybean Board to find sources of soybeans in the state
for shipment to Cuba.
NDA and Soybean Board officials returned from a trade mission to Cuba
this week, where the purchase of significant quantities of Nebraska
soybeans was discussed with representatives of the Cuban import
authority, Alimport. NDA Director Greg Ibach said talks with Cuban
officials are ongoing and plans are being formulated to sell soybeans
from farmer-owned cooperatives in Nebraska.
"I am pleased that Cuban officials are considering Nebraska soybeans for
this significant contract," said Ibach. "We look forward to facilitating
discussions in order to complete the deal. One of our immediate tasks is
to identify businesses that can source Nebraska soybeans."
Producers, producer cooperatives and other businesses that are
interested in selling Nebraska- sourced soybeans to Cuba should contact
the Nebraska Soybean Board at (402) 441-3240.
Gregg Fujan, Chairman of the Nebraska Soybean Board and Weston farmer,
said Cuba currently purchases approximately 660,000 bushels of soybeans
per month from the United States. Fujan said under the plan being
negotiated, these soybeans would be sourced from Nebraska, moved by
train to the Gulf of Mexico and loaded on ships bound for Cuba.
"This represents a great opportunity for Nebraska farmers to develop
direct access to the Cuban market," Fujan said.
Soybean Board Member Greg Anderson said Cuba annually purchases 216,000
metric tons of soybeans. "This represents over 3 percent of Nebraska's
annual production," Anderson said. He said the soybeans are processed in
Santiago, Cuba, and used throughout the country for poultry and
Ibach said the ongoing negotiations for soybeans reflect Governor Dave
Heineman's goal of establishing a long-term trading partnership with Cuba.
"The relationship that has been forged with Alimport will help ensure
these types of opportunities for the future," Ibach said.