Vietnamese rice donation sets sail for Cuba, Cubans will get rice soon

The 5,000 tons of rice donated by Vietnam to Cuba in mid-April was delivered this Wednesday to the Cuban ambassador to the Indochinese country, Granma daily reported.

The delivery took place at the port of Hai Phong, located in the north of Vietnam, as a preamble to its departure for the island.

The head of the island’s diplomatic mission in Hanoi, Lianys Torres, thanked the Vietnamese authorities for the donation, which she described as a “noble and solidary gesture” and a “sign of the special and historical ties between both countries.”

The donation had been received symbolically by Torres on April 17, after which she met with the prime minister of that Asian nation, Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

Xuan Phuc assured the Cuban diplomat that the State and the Communist Party of his country were with the island in the midst of the pandemic and confirmed the will of his government to contribute to “attenuate the rigors of the blockade and face the difficulties entailed by the presence of the new coronavirus.”

Cuba and Vietnam maintain strong political ties, and growing economic relations. The Indochinese country is the island’s second largest trading partner in Asia, after China, while both nations have or plan to have joint projects and investments in the food industry, renewable energy, science and technology, and the production of consumer goods and construction materials.

Rice is the most consumed cereal on the island and constitutes the base of the daily diet of Cubans, but its production in Cuba far from covers the consumption needs of the country, according to the projections of the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAGRI).

Of the 700,000 tons of rice the island needs in 2020 to cover the basic food basket and social consumption, it will only produce the “insufficient amount” of 162,000 tons, the official newspaper Granma affirmed this Tuesday.

Lázaro Díaz, director of the Rice Technology Department of the Agricultural Business Group of MINAGRI, told the publication that rice production has not been as affected by the drought in 2020 as other years, and attributed its decrease mainly to the “strengthening of the U.S. economic blockade.”

Against this background, the Vietnamese donation will be received with unquestionable approval on the island, as other previous donations have already been, as well as the technical aid that Vietnam is currently providing to Cuba to improve its insufficient rice production.