USA Rice Participates in Havana Trade Show

    ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography
    USA Rice participated in the American Pavilion of the International Havana Trade Show (FIHAV) here last week. The American pavilion this year was composed of 26 companies and trade associations, a sharp increase compared to the last several years, no doubt as a result of policy changes here and in the United States.
    USA Rice was represented here by consultants Ernesto Baron and Ana Vettorazzi and by Chairman Dow Brantley and Riceland’s Kevin McGilton.
    During the show, the USA Rice delegation met with Director General Ariel Fiallo and Vice President of Operations Alejandro Cardet of Alimport, the Cuban government’s purchasing arm.

    “There is a clear interest in resuming imports of U.S.-grown rice and our quality and the transportation logistics make the U.S. an ideal supplier of rice for Cuba,” said Brantley. “However, the Alimport folks were loud and clear that the main challenge remains the lack of credit terms and other policies still in effect due to the embargo.”

    The delegation also visited several local grocery stores where both locals and tourists are able to purchase common food items and a supply warehouse where only locals are allowed to obtain their monthly government supplied rations.
    “This trip was eye-opening and there is a definite and immediate need for high quality rice because a lot of the rice we saw on store shelves was not good quality,” said Brantley. “And with an increasing number of trade delegations, and eventually American tourists coming down – which is what it’s going to take to get two-way trade going – they are going to need our commodities sooner rather than later.”

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