The Dutch embassy in Cuba requested HollandDoor to organize a tailormade study trip of 1 week for 4 members of the Cuban agricultural reform committee: Mr. Roberto Ramón Pérez Pérez (delegation leader), Mrs. Marlene Maidelene Veitía Rubio, Mr. Antihus Alexander Hernández Gómez and Mr. Lázaro Peña Castellanos. The delegation was accompanied by Mr. Rodney Bustamanta Salazar, economic employee of the Dutch embassy. Mr. Fermín Quiñones Sánchez, the new Cuban ambassador in the Netherlands, joined also a few times the group during the trip in The Netherlands.
HollandDoor organized a tailor made studytrip in period of 7 - 14 December 2014 in which the Dutch agro sector was higlighted from different perspectives. Companies and sector organizations of different agro sectors and chainlinks were visited. Also several visits were made to ministries and agencies to discuss the facilitating and enabling role of the Dutch government. Academic and applied research, education and extension services were highlighted. The whole program was put in a framework of sustainable production and Corporate Social Responsibility as important drivers behind the current configuration of the Dutch agro cluster.
Since 2011 is Cuba working on an update of its economic and agricultural policy in which small steps are taken to a more market driven way of working. Individual farmers can now rent agricultural land, cooperatives are now also allowed in marketing and transport and a small part of the yield is allowed to be freely traded. Despite these policy changes, the daily agricultural practices show a rather conservative attitude in adopting these new possibilities. More awareness and knowledge transfer toward the agricultural sector might be needed to stimulate innovations in Cuban agricultural sector. About 80% of Cuban food demand is currently imported which has huge impact on the trade balance. Especially crops are imported which can be produced in Cuba as well due to its good climate and soil fertility. In this perspective, the Cuban government is working on a policy to realize import substitution and export promotion. It is very important that Cuba's economy is growing and their agricultural sector has the potential to be one of the drivers for this. However, governmental policy has to facilitate and enable this growth and for this reason an agricultural reform committee has been created to act as "thinktank".
Objective of the visit to The Netherland was to deliver a contribution to this new Cuban agricultural policy development. The Netherlands is interested to become partner in this policy development and realization in dayly agricultural practice. This will open possibilities for Dutch agricultural companies and institutes. The visit of the Cuban delegation to The Netherlands should result in strengthening of bilateral relations and create awareness of and definition of possibilities to work together in optimization of agricultural production, processing, trade and logistics. This process should be stimulated by having also more understanding of the economical, social and political framework in which the Dutch agro sector works on a global platform.
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