Saturday, September 14, 2013

U.S. soybean exporters renew pitch to Alimport

U.S. soybean exporters renew pitch to Alimport

CUBA STANDARD — Trying to reinvigorate U.S. soybean sales to Cuba, two
U.S. Soybean Export Council representatives traveled to Havana Sept. 2-5
to meet with officials of state food importer Alimport and hold a
workshop on soy-based swine feed, the trade group said in a press release.

Cuba bought a little more than $60 million worth of soybeans directly
from the United States in 2012, accounting for 9 percent of all U.S.
sales to the island, according to the U.S. International Trade
Commission. That's down from $65 million in 2009, the record-setting
year for U.S. soybean sales to Cuba. The bulk of U.S. soybean sales has
been by commodity giants Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, FC Stone
International and Bunge.

Alimport executives told Francisco de la Torre, Director of USSEC's
Americas Region, that Cuba is open to discussions, even though the
non-availability of U.S. credit, complicated third-country banking
arrangements, and the prohibition to sell Cuban goods to the United
States stand in the way of more purchases. Cuba will continue to buy
U.S. soy, USSEC was told, and is interested in continuing to improve the
relationship with U.S. suppliers, "specifically Perdue."

Virginia-based Perdue AgriBusiness offers soybeans and protein-blend
swine feed.

De la Torre, accompanied by consultant Carlos Campabadal, gathered
information regarding Cuba's purchasing decisions on soy products, about
the soy, swine and feed industries, as well as the soy foods industry,
according to the USSEC press release. They also offered a swine
nutrition seminar, and provided technical assistance in the form of
conferences to Cuban swine producers.

The nine-hour swine nutrition seminar, according to the USSEC, was
attended by 62 people. "Interest level … was so high that Dr. Campabadal
was only able to present three of the five lectures that he had
prepared, due to questions and interaction from the Cuban technicians in
attendance," the USSEC press release said.

Currently, Cuba imports soybean meal from the U.S., Argentina and Brazil
for use in swine diets. Three major feed exporters — Campi and Malta
Texo from Mexico and Agrifeed from the Dominican Republic — currently
cover the Cuban market, selling more than 100,000 metric tons of swine
feed per year; all of them use almost exclusively U.S. soybean meal.

Alimport also invited USSEC to participate at the upcoming Cuban
Agriculture Convention.

Source: "U.S. soybean exporters renew pitch to Alimport « Cuba Standard,
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