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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2960

Sri Lanka and Cuba Strengthen Cooperation in the Coconut Sector

Havana_03 July, (

At the invitation of the Cuban Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero, the Minister of Coconut Development and Janatha Estate Development, Hon. Jagath Pushpakumara paid a 6 - day official visit to Cuba from 24th – 29th June 2013 accompanied by Chairman of the Coconut Research Board, Prof. H.P.M. Gunasena, Director of the Coconut Research Institute, Dr Jayantha Gunathillake and Chairman of the Coconut Cultivation Board, Mr.Sarath Keerthiratne.

The visit was primarily focused on the implementation of the MOU on Coconut Development signed between Sri Lanka and Cuba during the state visit of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Cuba in June 2012.

The Sri Lankan delegation led by Minister Jagath Pushpakumara held official discussions with the Cuban Minister of Agriculture Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero on 25th June at the Ministry of Agriculture. After welcoming the Minister and delegation to Havana, the Cuban Minister briefed them on the current status of the country’s coconut sector and its significance for the people and economy of Cuba. The Cuban Minister conveyed Cuba’s gratitude to the Sri Lankan Minister for his commitment and enthusiasm to promote cooperation in the coconut sector.

In his remarks, Minister Jagath Pushpakumara conveyed his sincere appreciation to the Cuban Minister for the warm welcome and generous hospitality extended to his delegation in Cuba and also for the initiatives taken to facilitate early action on matters envisaged. Following their deliberations, the two Ministers affirmed their resolve to work together and draw up an action plan for the effective implementation of the MOU. Both ministers also agreed that the MOU on Coconut Development would facilitate the exchange of delegations, sharing of knowledge and experience, technology transfer, promotion of cooperation and opportunities in scientific, research and technological sectors between the two countries.

During discussions Minister Pushpakumara also touched upon the excellent Sri Lanka – Cuba relations and said that bilateral relations today are multifaceted encompassing all conceivable areas of interest. The Minister also conveyed his appreciation to Cuba for its consistent support for Sri Lanka during difficult times and also for the opportunities afforded for Sri Lankan students in Cuban universities and its support for the eradication and control of epidemics among others. Minister Pushpakumara also extended an invitation to the Cuban Minister to visit Sri Lanka at an early date. The Chairman of the Coconut Research Board, Prof. Gunasena proposed the setting up of focal points by the two Ministries in order to implement the activities and review progress of action under the MOU. The Cuban Minister of Agriculture, Gustavo Rodriguez Rollero was joined in the discussions by First Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Julio Andrés García, International Relations Director of the Ministry, Idalberto Capote Hurtado, Director of the Entrepreneurial Group of the Ministry, Arisbel Ferro Barrios and Head of the Coconut National Programme, Dr.Jorge Rolando Cueto, while the Sri Lankan delegation was assisted by Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Cuba, Sarath Dissanayake.

As part of the program, the Sri Lankan delegation accompanied by Ambassador Dissanayake made a 3 – day field visit to the eastern region of Baracoa which is home to the largest coconut plantations, coconut processing and research facilities in Cuba and lies about 1200 kms from the capital city of Havana. In Baracoa, the delegation was able to get a firsthand knowledge on the current status of the coconut production and processing sectors and gather information and views of the grower communities involved in cultivation and processing of coconut. It also enabled them to share their knowledge and experience with the officials in charge of coconut cultivation and industry in Baracoa. During the visit, they also stopped at other coconut growing regions such as Guantanamo, Granmaand Ciego de Vila and exchanged views and observations with the provincial authorities on matters of interest in the field of Agriculture.

Following their return to Havana, the Minister and the delegation held a wrap up meeting with the Cuban authorities overseeing coconut, fruit, and food production as well as processing, industrial, marketing aspects etc. and agreed on a joint plan of action to implement the provisions of the MOU with the collaboration of their respective Embassies. During discussions, Minister Jagath Pushpakumara assured the Cuban side led by the Director of the Tropical Fruit Research Institute, Raixa Llauger Riverón of Sri Lanka’s assistance in capacity building, training, exchange and transfer of expertise and technology, introduction of new products, cultivars and varieties, management practices and proposed joint endeavours to tackle pest attacks and diseases, among others. In return, the Cuban delegation agreed to help Sri Lanka to acquire advanced scientific knowhow, technology and technical support from Cuba.

Both sides expressed their utmost satisfaction at the positive outcome of the visit and their keen interest to expeditiously follow up matters toward speedy implementation of the MOU for mutual benefit.
Embassy of Sri Lanka.

- Asian Tribune -

Sri Lanka and Cuba Strengthen Cooperation in the Coconut Sector
Sri Lanka and Cuba Strengthen Cooperation in the Coconut Sector
Sri Lanka and Cuba Strengthen Cooperation in the Coconut Sector
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