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Cuba, FAO seek to boost bilateral cooperation


10:35, May 05, 2013

HAVANA, May 4 (Xinhua) -- The Cuban government and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) seek to boost bilateral agricultural cooperation during a working visit by FAO chief Jose Graziano da Silva to the island country.

According to a FAO press release, the purpose of the visit by Da Silva, 63, who arrived Thursday in Havana, was to assess with Cuban authorities the different programs related to food security and the present state of bilateral cooperation.

Upon his arrival on Thursday, the FAO chief held talks with Cuba's Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment Rodrigo Malmierca, during which he praised Cuba's contribution to South-South cooperation projects.

He affirmed that FAO owes a lot to Cuba for its help in projects in the Caribbean and Africa, in particular in the sectors of tropical agriculture and animal husbandry.

On Friday, Da Silva met with Vice-President Marino Murillo in charge of supervising measures to improve the local economic model so as to enhance its efficiency and productivity.

The meeting was also attended by Agriculture Minister Gustavo Rodriguez and officials from the National Association of Small Farmers (ANAP), who exchange ideas with the FAO chief on the changes in the agro-industrial sector, Cuba's agricultural state, and major agricultural development programs.

Da Silva also met with Cuban President Raul Castro on Friday, who expressed the willingness of his government to deepen cooperation with FAO.

Founded in 1945 and based in Rome, Italy, FAO currently maintains some projects with Cuba, aiming to modernize and improve the farming capability of the island.

Bilateral cooperation programs include the genetic improvement of potato, the implementation of sustainable systems for cow milk production, and the promotion of suburban agriculture.

FAO's representative in Havana Theodor Friedrich said that Cuba has the professional capability and sufficient land to grow more crops and raise more cattle and livestock. He also noted the island country's capability to support other countries in the region.

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