Technology transfer and capacity building helps Cuba's packaging sector

United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)


Centro de Envases y Embalajes, CNEE


How UNIDO is Modernizing the Packaging Industry in Cuba

Packaging and food-processing technologies are essential for ensuring food security and safety, as well as for developing a thriving trade in food exports. However, the packaging industry in Cuba is one of the weakest links in the country's food-processing sector. This has hampered internal food security and restricted export potential.

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has been working to strengthen and modernize the packaging industry in Cuba. In 2021, UNIDO, together with Cuba's Ministry of Industries and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, provided the Centro de Envases y Embalajes (CNEE) with specialized equipment for testing packaging materials and plastic, paper, and carton packages. The project also included an online workshop and a 10-day training course on responsible packaging and standardization and quality control processes in the packaging sector.

These activities have helped to improve the CNEE's capacity to test different packaging materials and technologies for compliance with national and international standards. This will help to ensure that food products in Cuba are packaged safely and sustainably, and that the country's food-processing sector is able to compete in the global market.

Here are some of the key benefits of the UNIDO project:

Improved food safety: The new equipment and training will help to ensure that food products in Cuba are packaged safely and prevent contamination.

Increased export potential: The improved packaging will make food products from Cuba more attractive to consumers and help to increase export sales.

Sustainable packaging: The project is also promoting the use of sustainable packaging materials, which will help to reduce the environmental impact of the food-processing sector.

The UNIDO project is a major step forward for the packaging industry in Cuba. The project has helped to address some of the challenges facing the industry and has put Cuba on the path to becoming a more competitive player in the global food market.

UNIDO ITPO Italy Helps Cuba Improve Packaging Testing

In November 2021, UNIDO ITPO Italy donated basic equipment to test packaging materials and packages to the Centro de Envases y Embalajes (CNEE) in Cuba. The donation also included capacity-building services, such as personnel training, workshops, the recruitment of specialists, and the development of institutional collaborations in the field.

CNEE Director Miriela Valle Cepero said that the capacity-building activities will benefit all business stakeholders, including new micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, independent workers and local cooperatives, boosting strategic sectors such as agri-food, tourism and biopharma. She also said that the validation processes performed thanks to the equipment will also contribute to stepping up Cuba's exports.

AICS in Cuba Director Antonio Festa congratulated UNIDO ITPO Italy on the improvement in the CNEE's capacities to test different packaging materials and technologies for compliance with national and international standards. He said that this will serve as a guiding force towards increased exports and inclusive economic growth within the country.

UNIDO ITPO Italy Helps Cuba Improve Packaging Testing and Joins World Packaging Organization

The Centro de Envases y Embalajes (CNEE) in Cuba has seen a significant improvement in its packaging testing capabilities thanks to the support of UNIDO ITPO Italy. In May 2022, the CNEE officially joined the World Packaging Organization (WPO), an international federation of national packaging institutes and associations.

As a result of the UNIDO project, the CNEE can now perform 52 different laboratory tests. In the first months of 2023, the CNEE generated a record income of around 1.9 million Cuban pesos (approximately US$80,000) for providing laboratory tests for private companies.

The CNEE has also established collaboration with similar entities in Latin America, including the Argentine Packaging Institute and Brazil's Packaging Technology Centre. The CNEE is helping to implement a new packaging policy approved by the Cuban Government to promote innovation and the use of efficient technologies in the country.

UNIDO ITPO Italy's Dino Fortunato explained that the transfer of technology and knowledge from industrialized to developing countries is key to development. He said that technology transfer involves the purchase and acquisition of equipment and the know-how to use, maintain, and repair it. It is also important to share knowledge about processes, policies, methods, and data.

UNIDO's Investment and Technology Promotion Network consists of ten offices (ITPOs) around the world. The objective of the ITP Network is to contribute to the industrial development of developing countries and countries with economies in transition by identifying and mobilizing the technical, financial, managerial, and other resources required for the implementation of specific industrial investment and technology promotion projects with local partners.