Cuba allows purchase of agricultural equipment by private farmers
11:14 | 18/ 03/ 2008
MEXICO City, March 18 (RIA Novosti) – Cuba has lifted a ban on private
farmers buying agricultural equipment in a sign that new Cuban President
Raul Castro is seeking to stimulate food production, Mexican mass media
reported on Tuesday.
The sale of machinery, fertilizer and mechanical appliances was
previously strictly controlled by the state. From now on, private
farmers will be able to buy equipment with the freely convertible
currency they receive from selling agricultural produce to the state at
The move may save communist Cuba hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars
which are usually spent on food imports. In 2007, Cuba purchased food
imports worth $2 billion.
The new Cuban leader also said agriculture was a priority for the
country's economic development.
There are more than 250,000 farms and 1,100 private cooperatives in
Cuba. They farm a third of the country's agricultural land.
Raul Castro became president of Cuba after Fidel Castro announced on
February 19 that he would step down as Cuba's president due to health
problems. Castro, 81, remains the head of the Communist Party.
Shortly after his election, Raul Castro said he was willing to introduce
moderate economic reforms in Cuba, but insisted that he would not
deviate from the path of socialism. On Friday he vowed to ease
restrictions on the sale of electronic equipment, including DVDs,
computers, TVs and cookers.