Cuba Loses More Than Half of the Food Harvested, Reports a Spanish NGO
14ymedio, Havana, 23 May 2017 — Agriculture in Cuba is among the lowest
performing in Latin America according to an evaluation published by the
non-governmental organization Mundubat, based in the Basque Country
(Spain). On the island, losses during harvest and after collection
represent 30% of total production, while during the distribution stages
they reach an additional 27%.
The report includes an evaluation carried out jointly between Mundubat
and Veterinarians Without Borders (VSF). Both organizations are part of
a cooperation agreement with Cuba, started in 2014 and funded mainly by
the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development.
Mundubat and VSF have been working on the island since 1993 in projects
that promote food sovereignty and gender equality. The entities work in
collaboration with official organizations, including the National
Association of Small Farmers, the Cuban Association of Agricultural and
Forestry Technicians, and the Cuban Association of Animal Production.
The report sees as a positive sign that “the cooperative sector already
has 80% of the land and produces more than 90% of the food produced in
the country,” but notes that domestic production “only covers 20% of the
The biggest problems detected in food production on the island have
their origin in the “weakness of the cooperative institutional framework
in which agricultural production is organized,” the report said.
The cooperatives lack an “internal evaluation of the efficiency and
ecological sustainability of the models of production,” demonstrate a
“lack of knowledge of the regulatory frameworks,” suffer deficiencies in
their facilities, and have “little involvement from their members,” says
The island suffers from “degraded soils with low levels of organic
matter, and high incidence of pests and diseases,” along with “high
salinity, soil compaction and overgrazing.” Invasive weeds and
contamination from manure aggravate the picture.
“The scarce investment in technology” limits “production even
more.” Mundubat describes the final products offered for consumption as
being of “low quality.” A situation that points to “poor processing in
the early stages of harvest,” “deterioration of storage systems” and
“lack of experience in adding value to primary products.”
The different productive units “do not meet the [island’s] internal
demands” and the food supply is characterized by “the low and unstable
availability of food throughout the year” and fluctuating prices.
The report warns that women have “a low presence” in positions and
structures of management in the agricultural sector and “endure the
sexual division of labor.” While “rights holders and producers are men,”
women occupy “agricultural labor posts” in agribusiness processing
chains and in retail distribution.
“The sector’s returns are stagnant or have decreased slightly,” warns
the report, which predicts that to the extent that agriculture “does not
increase its yields and exploit its productive potential, the economy
will have to assume significant expenditures to supply its domestic
demand,” that is, for purchasing food from abroad.
Source: Cuba Loses More Than Half of the Food Harvested, Reports a
Spanish NGO – Translating Cuba –