New York, Sep 27 (Prensa Latina) The president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) of the United States, Jeff Witte, has expressed on Thursday his full support to the agricultural trade with Cuba and rejected the blockade against the island.
Witte, who is New Mexico’s Secretary of Agriculture, participated in a meeting this Thursday with Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who is following a broad agenda this week on the occasion of the UN General Assembly in New York.
In a statement issued on that meeting, the agricultural association described it as ‘an opportunity to advance further collaboration and try to continue NASDA’s long-standing commitment to the Cuban government and people.’ Many state agricultural officials have relations in Cuba, and we are here today to forge and improve new partnerships between NASDA members and Cuban officials, particularly in agriculture,’ Witte said.
The meeting with the Cuban President also included Virginia Agriculture Commissioner Jewel Bronaugh, Connecticut Agriculture Commissioner Steve Reviczky and NASDA Executive Director Barbara P. Glenn.
According to the note on the meeting, members of the association stressed the need for exchanges on research and biotechnological knowledge, as well as cooperation on sanitary and phytosanitary issues.
They also regretted that in the last 55 years, Cuba has gone from being the ninth largest U.S. agricultural export destination to 55th.
At this morning’s meeting, Diaz-Canel highlighted how the agricultural sector is one of those who most defend U.S.-Cuba relations.
Although the time at the UN General Assembly is very tight, we were very interested in this meeting and in conveying a message of peace, unity, understanding, and also of convocation,’ said the President.
Agriculture is one of the sectors with which Cuba has had some possibility, very limited, to sustain an economic and commercial exchange in this country, he recalled.
Despite the measures taken by the new White House administration, we are still open to dialogue, Diaz-Canel said in reference to the setback in the bilateral ties under Donald Trump’s government.
He also spoke of the influence that the agricultural sector can have on the demand for the end of the blockade, taking as a reference the way in which this group negotiates or shows disagreement with the restrictions of the blockade.