USA Rice Federation joined Cuba’s Ministry of Agriculture, ALIMPORT and Foreign Ministry officials in recent visits to seed rice production areas and a tour of a renovated rice mill in one of Cuba’s western provinces about 90 minutes from Havana.

The group discussed rice production issues in Cuba as well as trade opportunities for U.S. rice.

“We recognize the important work the USA Rice Federation is doing in developing the U.S. rice market in Cuba, and we are open to imports of rice from the U.S. as it has great acceptance with our people,” said Hector Henriquez, vice president for the Ministry of Agriculture Rice Industries Group.

Cuba produces only about 20 percent of its rice consumption needs, and although economic factors limit expansion, Cuban officials estimate that under ideal circumstances Cuban rice production area would not increase enough to cover supply deficits.

Cuba’s mills are in great need of repair and most experts and officials agree that milled rice would dominate future rice imports.