RICELAND FOODS, Inc., was recognized in Havana recently by ALIMPORT, Cuba's food import agency, on the second anniversary of Riceland's first sale of U.S. rice to the island nation in 40 years.

During the presentation, Pedro Alvarez, ALIMPORT's chairman and chief executive officer, recognized Riceland for its “pioneering work and active involvement in the sale of U.S. food products to Cuba.” He also commended the cooperative for its contribution to “building a bridge of peace and friendship between Cuba and the U.S.”

Alvarez thanked Riceland for being proactive in visiting Cuba before the change in the U.S. policy that allowed sales of food to Cuba. He also mentioned that Riceland was the first U.S. company to participate in the Cuban International Trade Show, which Riceland attended in 2001.

Terry Harris, Riceland vice president for international rice marketing, received the award on behalf of Riceland and its 9,000 farmer-members. He said that Riceland appreciated the relationship that has been established with the staff of ALIMPORT and especially with Alvarez.

ALIMPORT annually purchases almost a $1 billion of food products for Cuba.

In November 2001, Riceland became the first U.S. company to sell rice to Cuba since the U.S. embargo was imposed in 1962.