By RONALD SUAREZ RIVAS, SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
BARINAS, Venezuela.— Cuba and Venezuela established five joint farm businesses on Tuesday for the production of poultry, dairy products, leguminous plants, rice and forestry products.
The accords are part of a growing cooperation between the two nations under the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA in Spanish), which promotes mutually beneficial trade, social development and solidarity among member nations.
Maria del Carmen Perez, Cuba’s acting minister of Agriculture, and Elias Jaua, her Venezuelan counterpart, signed the agreements noting that the other ALBA members (Bolivia and Nicaragua) could join them in their efforts.
Perez told Granma that before the end of 2007 the first results of the new farm enterprises should be seen. She said that the rice venture will take longer because it requires significant hydraulic infrastructure and will reach its full potential in a period of five years.
The Cuban official further noted that the island’s participation in the new businesses located in Venezuela consists mainly of technical assistance and that their goal is to substitute imports and guarantee the food security of both nations.
The two ministers took advantage of the meeting to review the overall agreement between their countries on food production issues, which includes a total of 40 projects and involves some 1,300 Cubans providing service in Venezuela.