Is Cuba an Emerging Market for Iowa Agriculture?

ncement Act of 2000 allowed U.S. food and agricultural products into Cuba for the first time in forty years. The opening of Cuba's borders to U.S. exports sparked little enthusiasm at first from the U.S. Department of Agriculture or State Department. But recent trips of the Iowa trade delegation to Cuba have discovered what could be a lucrative market for Iowa agricultural interests, according to Tom Rial of the Iowa Export Assistance Center and Midwest Agribusiness Trade Research and Information Center. Writing in the latest edition of the Iowa Ag Review, the newsletter of the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University, Rial cites a study that concludes Iowa could gain more than $70 million in agricultural sales to Cuba, with an additional spin-off of more than $206 million into the Iowa economy. Rial says with aggressive marketing efforts, Iowa pork, beef, processed egg products, animal feed, and soy protein and oil could flourish in Cuban markets. An Iowa company, FC Stone, has already secured a $5 million contract for corn and soybeans. But trade with Cuba is far from easy, and future success depends on such factors as recovery of the country's economy and further liberalization of the Cuban trade regime. Rial says interested firms should do their homework and seek out prospective distributors. The full text of the article is available at For more information, e-mail, or call Sandy Clarke, CARD communications, 515-294-6257.

(Released February 2003)