Cuba chops prices of agricultural equipment for newly authorized private
By Associated Press, Friday, August 5, 3:15 AM
HAVANA — Cuban authorities have ordered cuts of up to 60 percent in
prices for agricultural equipment and other farm items to stimulate
newly authorized private farmers who are cultivating state land under an
Officials said Thursday that the reductions took effect Aug. 1 and
address complaints from farmers that their costs were too high. The
announcement came during the nightly round-table show "Mesa Redonda."
Interior Commerce Ministry official Sara del Pilar Vidal said the
government decided to lower prices due to the feedback from farmers and
after studies showed the merchandise was not selling at the earlier
The 93 items covered include things like hoes, machetes, milk canisters,
hoses and rakes, she said.
Agricultural Ministry official Alfredo Rudio mentioned 60 other kinds of
equipment such as plows and added that what he called an "explosion" in
land handed over to private farmers made the reductions necessary.
President Raul Castro began a land reform process in 2008 that turns
over fallow fields to private cultivators. The government wants to boost
farm production and reduce Cuba's reliance on costly food imports.
The 2008 law provides for parcels of 32 to 98 acres (13 to 40 hectares)
to be allotted for 10 years to individuals and up to 25 years for
cooperatives. Both kinds of contracts are renewable.
National Land Control Center director Pedro Olivera said 171,000 people
have requested farm land in the last three years and 143,000 were
approved. More than 2.5 million acres (1 million hectares) were turned
over, he said.