Monday, November 29, 2021

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Cuba facing the challenge of boosting food production

Cuba facing the challenge of boosting food production

Havana, (Prensa Latina) Cuba recently approved 63 measures to increase food production in an effort to meet the needs of the population. Thirty of those measures are top priority and some have been already been applied.
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Maximizing agricultural land, essential for development to ensure food for the population and a national security issue, is considered the key solution to solving one of the major shortages: agro-business products.

The idea is to solve structural, organizational, productive, economic, financial and social problems related to the use and possession of land, which have prevented reaching high levels of productivity and yield.

‘This situation has prevented us from meeting the needs of the people in terms of food,’ Deputy Prime Minister Jorge Luis Tapia said in a recent television comment.

Tapia explained that all 63 measures are the result of an analysis of the Cuban agricultural production in the past 10 years, with the objective of eliminating obstacles and fostering the sector’s productive capacities as soon as possible.

In order to do so, implementing these regulations with rigor, discipline and control is essential, as well as honoring the contracts that farmers have signed with the entrepreneurial sector, which will allow for the improvement of productive indicators and the active participation of all farmers and growers.

The said measures are adopted amidst a complex national and international scenario and are part of Cuban development strategies to slow down the impact of the pandemic, the strengthening of the US blockade and the implementation of the recent monetary reform.

According to official data, Cuba has more than 10,400,000 hectares of land, of which 6,400,755 are agricultural (58%). However, only 3,120,926 are cultivated.

In addition to that, only seven percent of the cultivated area has irrigation, another element that affects the development of the agricultural sector and prevents the necessary yield.

In relation to land management, the cooperative and private sector gathers 4,672,551 hectares, while the state sector comprises 1,728,204 hectares – a sign of the need to strengthen state socialist companies in this sector.

For that reason, decisions address food production and growers’ costs, such as the reduction of electricity and water rates for all agribusiness activities – which will be fixed throughout the year, regardless of the fluctuation of oil prices in the international market.

This decision means that the State will have to make an additional expenditure of 240-400 million pesos (10-16 million dollars) from the national budget in regard to subsidy; however, the objective is to favor and foster farmers to meet their agreements with the State and commercialize surpluses.

Another important topic is the need to boost national products, science and innovation due to the deficit of foreign currencies and restrictions in the import of resources, consumables and bio-products because of serious financial problems resulting from the blockade imposed by the United States.

The State Budget also includes 1.8 billion pesos (75 million dollars) of promotional funds to boost agricultural production through the granting of loans, which will foster the substitution of imports.

(Taken from The Havana Reporter)

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