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Cuba's Full of (Soy) Beans

Regarding the article ''Let them Eat Soy - If They Want To,'' Jan. 24: We are cofounders of the US-based Soy Cubano! Company, the first US company to enter into a joint venture with the Cuban soyfoods industry. Soy is destined to become a staple in the diet of many nations within the next few decades. Cubans have built 20 soy factories in the last year and a half and are currently manufacturing products such as soy milk, yogurt, ice cream, mayonnaise, and ''hamburger helper.'' They have the expertise to make these foods, but Cuba lacks capital for further research, distribution, and marketing.

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The Cuban strategy is to become self-sufficient in soybeans, thereby freeing up the millions of dollars spent on imported beans. The Soy Cubano! Company is helping the Cuban Agricultural Research Institute develop their seed bank of home-grown varieties. By January 1997, the institute expects to plant almost 5,000 tons of indigenous soybeans. That's enough to supply Cuban soy factories with half the beans they need to provide a guaranteed 2 liters of soy yogurt per week to all children up to the age of 14 and other assorted soyfoods to the general population.

Pam Montanaro San Francisco

and Graciela Ybarra

Soy Cubano! Company

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