New York Times

January 8, 1958.p. 88.

Cuba Improving Quality of Crops

Developing New Varieties With the Help of U.S. Technical Mission

Special to The New York Times

HAVANA—The United States Technical Assistance Program is proving to be an important factor in the economic development of Cuba.

At present there are eighteen American technicians in Cuba under the direction of John E. Nepply, who are advising on agriculture, public administration, mining, civil aviation, education and management-labor relations.

The United States pays their salaries and expenses while Cuba provides all facilities, labor and equipment.

In the far eastern province of Oriente, at Baracoa, experts are working to introduce better varieties and improved methods of cultivating and harvesting coffee and cacao. The Cuban Government is financing improvements in the harvesting of coffee, which Cuba began exporting in 195s for the first time in ten years.

Better Cacao Grown

This year Cuba for the first time will export cacao, a crop that experts believe offers a major opportunity to Cuban planters if it is of good quality. About 10,000 pounds of high quality cacao are being exported. The crop of cacao has never been large and formerly was of poor quality.

The cyclone of 1955 that destroyed hundreds of plantations in and around Baracoa, the center of production, may have been a blessing in disguise, since a special variety has been introduced from the Inter-American Institute of Agricultural Sciences in Costa Rica through the help of United States technicians, and planters are eagerly improving their plantings.

Working with the Ministry of Agriculture, the Agricultural and Industrial Development Bank of Cuba and the Cattlemen’s Association in Camague, the center of Cuba’s growing cattle industry, experiments are underway to find the best types of grass for pasture.

At the same time, better varieties of fruits and vegetables are being developed. For example, the hot tropical sun of Cuba has made it impossible to grow tomatoes in the summer. A new variety of tomatoes has been developed by the United States experts that can be grown in the hot months.

The San Julian Technical School for airplane mechanics in Pinar del Rio Province at the base built by the United States during World War II, is regarded as an unqualified success. This school was organized by the United States technicians and staffed at the beginning of its operations three years ago with American personnel to teach Cuban instructors.

Improving Airport Controls

At the Jose Marti International Airport, just outside Havana, American technicians are cooperating with the Cuban Government to set up an improved aircraft control and communications system.

The first mineral laboratory of Cuba has been established in Havana for the Cuban mining industry. United States technicians cooperated with the Agricultural and Industrial Development Bank in this project in training Cuban technicians.

In the field of public administration, United States technicians have set up the mechanism for census work and have cooperated toward the compiling of government statistics, which always have been inadequate in Cuba.

One of the important projects of the Technical Assistance Program has been the training of technicians in the United States. In 1957 forty-eight Cubans received such training in the United States to learn about labor management relations. Thirty-seven went in 1955, twenty in 1956 and fourteen in 1957.