Price Prohibitive Dairy Products / Alberto Mendez Castello
Posted on October 18, 2013
PUERTO PADRE, Cuba, October, www.cubanet.org – “Milk production is in
serious trouble here,” said the first secretary of the Provincial
Committee of the Communist Party in Las Tunas, Ariel Santana
Santiesteban, in a meeting last month with farmers in this town.
The cows do not produce as much milk as need, because of poor
management, it was reported at the meeting. Their basic food is
insufficient. The dairy cattle don’t have enough forage to allow them to
maintain production when the pastures are bare from lack of rains,
reported the politicians and administrators meeting with the dairy farmers.
More than a logical concern for the dairy herd, the concern of the Cuban
Communist Party (PCC) over the low milk production recalls simple
reasons of mathematical logic. When milk production is low, the town
can’t supply the quote established for children up to age seven and sick
people, and powdered milk has to be substituted for fresh. Producing a
ton of milk powder uses twelve thousand liters of fresh milk which, at a
little more than two pesos a liter, is a payment to the dairy farmers of
some twenty-three thousand Cuban pesos.
The Las Tunas Dairy Products Company produces powdered milk, which in
addition to being supplied to the ration stores, is sold in five hundred
gram bags at 2.90 CUC (convertible pesos), in the State-owned hard
currency stores. A kilogram of nationally produced powdered milk sold in
those stores, is the equivalent of 5.80 CUC, and a ton at 5,800 CUC, is
145,000 in Cuban pesos.
Despite milk powder costing more than six times what the State pays the
dairy farmer for the raw material, anyone who wants to drink a glass of
milk without asking for trouble should go to the State-owned hard
The dairy farmer is forced to sell his milk to the State. Commerce in
milk, cheese or any other dairy product is prohibited between
individuals and punishable by law. The same is true for coffee. And
beef? Don’t even talk about it: His Majesty, the State monopoly market,
is owner and lord.
For many people, inside and outside of cuba, it’s as if good old “Daddy
Socialist State” was paying for everything: public health, education,
milk for children and sick people, etc. When, in reality, we are the
ones who pay.
At the National Farmers Meeting, held this last September, the
vice-president of the Council of Ministers, Marino Murillo Jorge, said,
“… we are fewer than 11 million people, of whom 5 million work, and of
these, approximately 960,000 work in agriculture, of which about 300,000
are not directly linked to production.”
Can anyone tell me who pays for the automobiles, the gasoline, the
offices and the salaries of these gentlemen who produce nothing?
Alberto Mendez Castello
From Cubanet, 16 October 2013
Source: “Price Prohibitive Dairy Products / Alberto Mendez Castello |
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