Wednesday 16th April, 2008
Cuba to restructure food marketing
IANS Wednesday 16th April, 2008
Cuba is moving to restructure the system for marketing food products to
revitalize the farm sector, Spain's EFE news agency reported Wednesday.
'We are working hard on the idea of restructuring the marketing of
agricultural products,' said Orlando Lugo, chief of National Association
of Small Farmers (ANAP) Tuesday.
The current system 'has many problems, has many catches, we lose a lot
of resources that are produced by the producers', Lugo said in a
Explaining the measures needed to be taken to reform the farm sector,
the ANAP head said companies would be created to provide services to
Raul Castro, younger brother of Fidel Castro, the architect of the Cuban
Revolution, was installed as president last month after serving as
provisional leader since Fidel fell ill in July 2006.
Since taking office Feb 24, he has indicated his intentions to reform
Cuba's creaking economy, but without ceding the Communist Party's
monopoly on political power.
The agricultural reforms Raul Castro is promoting included
administrative decentralization, providing supplies directly and
indirectly to farmers and cooperatives, improving prices and making more
land available to producers.
The government's goal is to put idle land – which according to official
figures accounts for 51 percent of Cuba's total farmland – into
production, drastically reducing the food imports that cost the island
around $1.6 billion annually, Lugo said.
Agriculture ministry and sugar ministry stores have been operating since
April 1, providing supplies to peasants, who lack the tools needed to
work the land, he said.
The stores carry 11 lines of goods, ranging from machetes to rubber
boots, clothing, shoes, pliers and wire, the ANAP chief said.
Lugo said there were 'things' that had been unveiled for the
agricultural industry and others that were still under review.
'Whatever needs to be changed, everybody can be sure that we are going
to change it,' he added.
In less than two months since Raul Castro took office, several things
have changed in Cuba: microwaves, mobile phones and the Internet are to
be accessible for as many people as possible, and Cubans can now stay in
luxury hotels which were until now were only for foreigners.