Oxen taking over from tractors in Cuba
IANS Wednesday 26th August, 2009
The Cuban government is creating centres for training thousands of oxen
as the island's farm sector struggles with a shortage of tractors, fuel
and the money to buy them, Communist Party daily Granma has said.
In the central province of Villa Clara east of Havana, an estimated
3,112 pair of oxen are needed to 'boost food production and save on fuel'.
President Raul Castro says that boosting domestic food production is a
matter of 'national security'.
The island currently imports 80 percent of what its 11.2 million
inhabitants consume, even as half of Cuba's arable land lies fallow.
Given the deathly state of the island's economy — the value of imports
quadrupled that of exports at the beginning of the year — the goal is
to have two teams of oxen for every 94 acres of farm land.
'Also being planned is the training of oxherds, blacksmiths and artisans
who work with the oxen, as well as the manufacture of ploughs, carts,
harrows and cultivators,' Granma said.
The Cuban government is giving individual farmers and cooperatives
long-term tenure over thousands of acres of idle land as part of its
plan to boost food production.
Oxen taking over from tractors in Cuba (26 August 2009)