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farmers want export restrictions against Cuba lifted
Posted: Jan 07, 2015 2:34 AM RST
By Theresa Schmidt

A group of rice farmers and others from our region will to
Washington D.C. to lobby for trade restrictions to be lifted to allow
exports to Cuba.

Since 1962 there’s been an in place that prevented exports to
Cuba– except for a brief period during the Clinton administration.

Rice farmers like Brian Wild from Jeff Davis Parish say allowing rice
exports to Cuba would make a big difference for growers in this region.

“It would make a tremendous difference to me. Our prices are down about
20 to 25 percent from last year. They’re below our cost of production.
I’ve heard figures as high as this market could mean as much as two
billion dollars to Louisiana and to the south as a whole.”

Besides, Wild says the embargo hasn’t accomplished anything.

“It’s not an embargo against Cuba, it’s an embargo against the Louisiana
rice farmers because that market was taken from us and Castro is still,
he’s getting his rice. They’re importing their rice from now,
so they’re still getting rice.”

Wild and other farmers attended a rice and soybean clinic in Welsh. LSU
AgCenter economist Dr. Mike Salassi says it would be a major market for
farmers here:

“To rice farmers in Louisiana it will mean a very close, major export
market that’s going to increase the demand for their product, which is
going to increase the price that they receive and so that’s why there’s
such interest.

Salassi says a mechanism is needed to transfer money between the two
countries.

“One of the major limitations or restrictions with trade right now is
having a banking system or banking arrangement with Cuba that can
facilitate international trade and that’s one of the factors that the
producers and the rice industry of the United States and Louisiana are
working toward to try to get financial arrangements established so that
trade can occur between the two countries.”

Wild and others including millers and processors, plan to travel to
Washington D.C. to lobby for relaxed restrictions to allow rice exports
to Cuba.

Source: Rice farmers want export restrictions against Cuba lifted – KPLC
7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana –
http://www.kplctv.com/story/27777300/rice-farmers-want-export-restrictions-against-cuba-lifted

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