Our Potato Who Art in Heaven / Orlando Freire Santana
Posted on April 1, 2014
HAVANA, Cuba — Prices of agricultural products have increased between 15
and 25 percent in recent months. An unsustainable burden if we take into
account the population’s salaries. The price increase coincides with new
forms of marketing. It turns out that the mechanism for bringing
producers and consumers closer and eliminating intermediaries set off
It was obvious: An official research center decides to cast aside
marketing analysis and concentrates on production.
Armando Nova Gonzalez, researcher for the Cuban Economic Studies Center,
told the Tribuna de la Havana newspaper: The levels of production should
have increased with the transfer of idle lands to lease-holders. But it
has not been so because of how expensively the State sells tools and
adequate inputs to the lease-holders in order to make the land produce,
among other reasons.
Other forms of production — the Agricultural Production Cooperatives
(CPA) and the Credit and Services Coooperatives (CSS) — also have seen
their costs affected by the high prices that they pay for fuel,
fertilizer, tires and parts for trucks and tractors. All those provided
by a single supplier — a certain state enterprise — which does not offer
options to the producers.
Nova concludes that those costs will not diminish — nor the retail
prices — as long as there exists no market for inputs, where the
producer may select what he needs, with the only limit being his ability
to buy, through credits or personal savings.
In order to verify the prices, we decided to visit three farmers markets
in the capital, each one with a different way of marketing. The Egido
Market, of the offer-demand mode, exhibited the following prices (all
per pound of product): black beans at 10 pesos, red beans at 15, yams at
2, tomato salad at 5, cucumbers at 4, malanga at 5 and chunky bananasat
10 pesos a bunch.
A point of sale in Calzada de Monte, leased to the CCS Juan Bruno Zayas,
offered these prices: black beans at 12, red beans at 13, yams at 2,
tomato salad at 7, cucumbers at 4, malanga at 5 and chunky bananasat 10
pesos a bunch.
In Arroyo, a non-agricultural cooperative, the black beans were at 12,
there were no red, yams at 2, tomato salad at 5, there were no
cucumbers, malanga at 4, and there were no chunky bananaseither. It is
clear, there are no significant variations in the prices among the
different forms of marketing. Nova is right, the elevated costs of
production determine the high sale prices to the public. But, his
suggestion of an inputs market for the growers could meet the same fate
as the wholesale market for the self-employed workers. . . And the price
of the potato will continue toward the heavens.
Cubanet, March 24, 2014, Orlando Freire Santana
Translated by mlk
Source: Our Potato Who Art in Heaven / Orlando Freire Santana |
Translating Cuba –