U.S. food, agriculture and forestry exports to Cuba reached $361 million in 2010, and while down 31% from the previous year, Cuba remains a viable market for growers in Texas and other states, according to a Texas AgriLife Extension Service economist.

Parr Rosson says Texas businesses and others are well positioned to compete in Cuba because of the quality of products and proximity to the market. In some years, the U.S. supplies the majority of food imported by Cuba, he says, noting that wheat, corn, rice, meat, poultry, cotton and forest products have a potential market in Cuba.

“Processed foods have made inroads in the travel and tourism sector, resulting in more exports in some years,” Rosson says. “New travel rules have made it easier for Texas producers and food exporters to go to Cuba on business. Increased demand by international travelers and the Cuban population will require more products to enter the country and create more opportunities for those who produce agricultural goods.”

Rosson and other experts will discuss these trends and other issues at a March 31 workshop in Houston, co-sponsored by the Texas-Cuba Trade Alliance, the Greater Houston Partnership, AgriLife Extension and the International Transportation Management Association.

“Many may not know that it’s now legal to export food, agricultural goods, lumber and medical products to Cuba,” Rosson says. “This workshop will present a broad view on how to do business with Cuba, new U.S. travel policy and what sectors are experiencing export growth.”

For more information go to http://www.tcta.us/.