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Experts Present Carib Situation in Agricultural Forum with China

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Beijing, Jun 10 (Prensa Latina) Participants in a recently concluded forum on Chinese-Latin American agriculture know details of the particular situation the Caribbean countries are experiencing, whose agricultural imports doubled its exports, and where its inhabitants suffer the consequences of successive natural disasters.

The issue was widely expressed in the First China-Latin America and the Caribbean Agricultural Ministers' Forum, attended by delegations from 21 countries, 19 of them at a ministerial level, and concluded in this capital yesterday night.

The Caribbean was represented by Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Dominica, Granada, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago.

In his speech in this important meeting aimed at promoting cooperation between China and Latin America in the agricultural field, Cuban Minister of Agriculture Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero stated that this situation joins to the scarcity of rainfall in the area.

It is obvious that the Caribbean requires more investment and greater international cooperation to ensure food security and sovereignty, the Cuban minister said.

Latin America and the Caribbean is a heterogeneous region, composed not only of agricultural producing and exporting countries, but also net food importers, so the rise in world prices for these products have diverse impact on the agricultural trade of the regional countries, he said.

As for Cuba, Rodriguez Rollero highlight his country's progresses in improving the agroindustrial sector and the measures adopted by that nation to reduce food imports.

The Cuban minister recalled that the goal proposal by the First World Food Summit in 1996, of reducing the number of undernourished people by 2015, was fulfilled in advance.

This achievement was carried out with enormous efforts in the domestic production and annual imports of about two billion dollars, in a market that takes into account the so-called "risk Cuba," by the U.S. blockade against his country more than 50 years ago, he said.

The minister said Cuba has created the basis for the necessary changes in agricultural industry, backed by the guidelines adopted at the 6th Congress of the Communist Party, to increase the level and quality of food.

Among other changes, he mentioned the delivery of the majority of idle state lands in usufruct and priority areas that would reduce the food import, such as rice, other grains, milk, and meat.

Another aspect discussed by Rodriguez Rollero that had great acceptance among those present refers to the importance of training skilled workforce, essential for the future of the agricultural sector.

In Cuba, there is a vast network of universities, polytechnical institutions and trade schools, in which agricultural sciences are studied, he said.

The minister also said that the development of science and innovation are based in 24 institutes and national research centers dedicated to agriculture, livestock and forestry sectors, where thousands of researchers work.

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