SC Commissioner Weathers: Cuba Trade Trip

SC Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers has just returned from a trade mission to Cuba. Commissioner, tell us about this trip.

Yes, Mike, I’m back from a trip to Cuba with the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture.

Cuba is opening up more to international trade and relationships, and agriculture will be a big part of our future together. So we wanted to go see for ourselves and have some conversations.

I traveled with six other state agriculture leaders along with some USDA Foreign Ag Service officials and NASDA leaders.

We met with government officials and industry and private sector leaders in Cuba.

Cuba is in the early stages of an economic transition from state socialism to a mixed economy where state enterprises work alongside a private sector.

The country’s economy is struggling a bit and food insecurity is high.


  • Met with the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Economy and Planning.
  • Discussions with private companies involved in food production and ag.
  • Visited an agriculture market and a warehouse managed by the Ministry of Internal Commerce.
  • Visited a logistics center – linkage between Private Sector and State Entity working on the import of food products.
  • Toured Old Havana.
  • Visited a food cooperative.

Trade opportunities:

  • We would like to expand trade and make the US more competitive in Cuba.
  • Demand in Cuba for rice, corn, wheat, beef, pork, dairy, animal feed, and farm equipment.
  • Cubans could export tropical fruits, organic vegetables, tobacco, rum, coffee, honey, and aquaculture (with some assistance).

I think there’s enormous opportunity in Cuba and I look forward to continuing these discussions.