Congratulations: Free Trade of Agricultural Products / Jeovany Jimenez Vega
Posted on May 3, 2014
By: Jeovany Jiménez Vega
The decision of Cuban authorities to ease restrictions on the
commercializing of agricultural production (to be implemented in
practice as outlined, it would be that and not a greater increase in
“flexibility”) must be received with relief in both corners of the ring,
for both producers and consumers; the first for obvious reasons, the
latter because they are stake-holders from the first round at their
local farmers markets.
The decision is logical; that is how every gesture aimed in the right
direction should be received. Too many facts condemn the current scheme,
directly responsible for thousands of failed crops; guilty of the
discouragement of rural people (i.e. farmers) who no longer support the
failure of agricultural systems that rot the harvest, and which are
largely to blame for the exorbitant prices that leave me the consumer at
the end of the chain without feathers and clucking. Over-centralization
has led to nothing for decades and the persecution of producers and
brokers has lead to only frustration and shortages and high food prices.
Although I will reserve my enthusiasm for when changes become
concrete–forgive me those who forget that agricultural producers still
live with the legal threat of “illicit enrichment” or “hoarding” hanging
over their necks–I do believe that this proposal, now in the
experimental phase limited to Artemis, Mayabeque and the capital Havana,
if extended to the rest of the country depending on successful outcomes,
could lead to an immediate stimulus to the production and trade of
agricultural products with benefit to all in the very short term.
On this point I disagree with published studies that predict longer term
benefits. Unlike other serious problems in this country such as housing
for example, agriculture only requires an appropriate political will to
remove barriers and in a few years we will see the rewards, as an
example look to the politics of Xiao Pin in China.
Clearly when it is time to regulate and limit prices, the State should
take a more responsible attitude to the politics of pricing imposed upon
my people. If they require agricultural producers to restrain prices,
the State should also restrain their prices that have so far been
brutal. It is the State that is responsible for the perpetual extortion
suffered by Cubans every time we walk into a store.
Only when actual prices fall to more justified and realistic levels,
will the governing powers of this country have the moral justification
to demand the same from private producers. Now it remains to be seen
what directions are given to the pack of inspectors, from which we have
become accustomed to expect nothing good when zero hour arrives.
Although to err is human, to continue the same errors is the failing of
fools. This society cannot permit itself the luxury of continuing to
ignore the lessons that life has given. It is inconceivable that where
nature has provided ideal conditions for agriculture to flourish by the
fertility of the soil and a favorable climate, our hands are tied due to
man’s own stubbornness.
In order to enjoy success we should free ourselves of burdens, all
bureaucratic obstacles preventable and absurd. Congratulations, finally
for all that encourages and promotes new ways. We have hope.
Translated by: Yoly from Oly
12 November 2013
Source: Congratulations: Free Trade of Agricultural Products / Jeovany
Jimenez Vega | Translating Cuba –