By Natalie Neumann
Virginia expects its food exports to Cuba to increase this year.
The state's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says Virginia's exports to Cuba are expected to rise by more than 10 percent this year. The department's preliminary figures show agricultural exports to Cuba, including apples, poultry and soybeans, were worth about $45 million in the first nine months of 2009. That compares with just under $41 million worth of exports in all of 2008.
The increase comes at a time when overall U.S. food exports to the communist country are on the decline.
A state delegation including Agriculture Commissioner Todd Haymore recently visted Cuba. Haymore tells the Richmond Times-Dispatch that Cuban representatives told the delegation overall agricultural imports from the U.S. would be down about 37 percent in 2009.