Monday, November 29, 2010 3:53 PM CST
North Dakota officials are working on finalizing an agreement for the
sale of an additional 1,000 metric tons of dry edible beans to Cuba.
"Five thousand tons will leave North Dakota next month and the Cubans
have bought another 5,000 tons from China," said North Dakota
Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, who recently returned from Cuba.
"This is an opportunity for us to build on our reputation as a ready
dependable supplier of high quality commodities."
Goehring led a seven-member North Dakota trade delegation on a four-day
trade mission to Cuba. The delegation included Randy Schneider,
president of the North Dakota Ethanol Producers Association; Alan
Juliuson and Todd Sorenson, directors of the Northarvest Bean Growers
Association; Ken Bertsch, state seed commissioner; and two North Dakota
Department of Agriculture staff members, Stephanie Sinner, a marketing
specialist, and Dave Nelson, state entomologist.
"Overall, it was a very successful trip in further strengthening our
trade ties with Cuba," Goehring said. "Members of our delegation said it
exceeded their expectations."
Goehring said negotiations for exporting North Dakota seed potatoes are
"It appears that we are in the final discussions for getting signatures
on the phytosanitary documents," he said. "Our potato growers have
donated and offered to ship 45,000 pounds of North Dakota potato
varieties to Havana for planting trials. We hope to ship this in time
for the 2011 planting season."
Goehring said he learned that Cuba is looking to source dry distillers
grains (DDGs), sunflower seeds for oil and barley malt.
"We were very surprised to learn that the Cubans already use 140 to 160
metric tones of DDGs each year from various sources and they would like
to source a portion of that from North Dakota," Goehring said. "We are
looking over the Cuban import specifications for supplying these DDGs
from North Dakota. This could be a huge boost to our state's ag exports."
Goehring said the demand for oil sunflowers and barley malt is also
exciting, since North Dakota dominates U.S. production of both crops.
In addition to meeting with high level Cuban officials, the North Dakota
delegation also met with officials from the U.S. Interest Section, which
represents the U.S. State Department in Cuba.