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US embargo affects Cuban agriculture amid pandemic

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Havana | Friday, 2021 5:15:06 PM IST
The US embargo against Cuba continues to affect the island-nation's agricultural system, a high-ranking government official said here.

Moraima Cespedes, director general of international relations at the Ministry of Agriculture, told reporters on Thursday that between April and December 2020, the US embargo had caused damages to this prioritized sector worth $330 million, reports Xinhua news agency.

"The US administrations have increased hostility towards the island, affecting financial transactions between Cuban companies and international banks," she said.

Cespedes also said that access to raw materials and technological infrastructure to support the irrigation systems across the country had been harmed by the embargo.

"The US' unilateral policy toward the Caribbean nation has been intensified amid the Covid-19 pandemic," she added.

It comes as the Cuban government has adopted new measures to incentivise farmers to increase the national production of food.

Meanwhile, Giovanna Pereira Roca, business director at the Cuban company Tabacuba, said that during the last three quarters of 2020, the US embargo had caused losses worth $180 million for exports of premium cigars.

"If the embargo were lifted, Cuba could become one of the top suppliers to the US premium cigar market," she told Xinhua.

First imposed in 1962, the embargo was tightened during former US President Donald Trump's administration, which banned American flights to Cuban cities except for Havana, barred cruise ships and yachts from visiting the Caribbean nation, and limited remittances that Cuban-Americans send to their families on the island.

The Cuban government will present its annual draft resolution against the embargo before the UN General Assembly in June.

--IANS ksk/

( 273 Words)

2021-05-14-11:12:01 (IANS)

 
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