The president of the National Farmers Union (NFU) in the US, Roger Johnson, has applauded the Obama administration on the important steps announced to normalise relations between the United States and Cuba.
The leaders of the United States and Cuba have agreed to restore diplomatic relations and plan the opening of embassies in each other’s capitals as soon as possible, Obama administration officials said on 17 December.
“NFU has worked hard over the last five years to push for a normalisation of relations with Cuba,” said Johnson. “Acknowledging that Cuba is one of our closest neighbours and a potentially valuable trading partner, and allowing the relationships between the two nations and its citizens to renew and blossom is good for both nations,” he said.
The administration’s announcement noted that decades of isolation have failed to accomplish the US goals of promoting a democratic and prosperous Cuba. Under the agreement announced, the US Commerce Department will ease the financial regulations on US agricultural sales to Cuba as part of a normalisation of US-Cuban relations.
Johnson noted that over the last five years, NFU has sent at least 20 letters addressing normalised travel and trade with Cuba. “The Cuban embargo has made no sense for a long time,” said Johnson.
Cargill has also expressed support for the White House’s plan to normalise relations between the United States and Cuba.
“This move will drive growth in both countries,” said Devry Boughner Vorwerk, a Cargill vice president and chair of the US Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC), a partnership of more than 20 prominent US agriculture associations committed to normalising trade with Cuba. “It will create a new market for US farmers, ranchers and food companies, and give the Cuban people improved access to affordable food.”