China funds construction of three biotech plants in Cuba

State biotech company Labiofam is beginning construction of the first facility for bio-plaguicides and bio-fertilizers in Villa Clara

CUBA STANDARD — State biotech company Labiofam is beginning construction of the first of three production facilities for bio-plaguicides and bio-fertilizers in Cuba, Granma reported.

The first plant is going up in the outskirts of Villa Clara, at a construction cost of 29 million non-convertible pesos (CUP, US$29 million at the wholesale exchange rate), according to the official daily. Completion is expected for 2016.

Grupo Empresarial Labiofam is using mainly Chinese technology in the new plant. During a recent visit of President Xi Jinping to Havana, China Development Bank chief Hu Huaibang signed an agreement that grants Cuba a loan, amount and conditions undisclosed, for the  equipment and construction of three biopesticide plants.

The other two plants will be built in Havana and Holguín.

According to Labiofam executives, some 230 workers at the plant in Villa Clara will produce CUP 80 million worth of goods per year — including 1,000 tons of BioRat and six million liters of bio-plaguicides and bio-fertilizers — supplying Cuban agriculture as well as some export markets. A company official said the new plant will allow Cuba to save millions of dollars in imports.

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