Japan donates rice machinery to Cuba
Published: 18/07/2012 at 02:48 AM
Online news: Asia
Japan has donated about $3 million worth of machinery to grow and
harvest rice as Cuba seeks to halve imports of the grain which top $200
million per year, local media said Tuesday.
A Cuban salesman weighs rice in a shop in Havana in 2008. Japan has
donated about $3 million worth of machinery to grow and harvest rice as
Cuba seeks to halve imports of the grain which top $200 million per
year, local media said Tuesday.
The aid was part of a "new cooperation project" between the two
countries and also includes technical support, such as training for
farmers, said Japan International Cooperation Agency coordinator
Kenichiro Kawaji, cited by Cuba's official Granma daily.
Kawaji said the donated tractors, harvesters, mowers, tillers and other
high-tech equipment would allow the Communist island by 2016 to grow
some 2,000 tonnes of certified grains of rice, a staple in the Cuban diet.
"I am convinced that through our experience and techniques, we can
contribute to increased rice production in Cuba," Japan's Ambassador
Masuo Nishibayashi said in delivering the equipment.
Cuba, which imports nearly 70 percent of its rice, launched a program in
2008 to boost domestic production, with the goal of halving its rice
imports within five years.
In 2010, Cuba imported 414,000 tonnes of rice for $219 million,
according tot the latest figures available.
President Raul Castro's government considers food production to be
"strategic" and has introduced reforms to boost agriculture, as well as
distribute idle lands and soft loans to farmers.
Cuba spends about $1.7 billion a year to import 80 percent of the food