“Sometimes we have to work barefoot …” says a farmer
“Sometimes we have to work barefoot …” says a farmer / 14ymedio, Orlando
Posted on November 7, 2014
14ymedio, Orlando Palma, Havana, 6 November 2014 – A meeting that was
meant to sum up achievements turned into a flood of complaints and
demands. The Review Assembly of the National Association of Small
Farmers (ANAP) in Cienfuegos was the scene where some of the impediments
faced by the peasantry of the region were heard.
The Assembly was held at the Martyrs of the Barbados Agricultural
Production Cooperative in Rancho Luna, and the officials had to placate
the attitudes of the angry farmers in the area. “They came to convince
us to make a greater sacrifice, but the truth is I’m already tired of
this,” explained a vegetable farmer in the region who participated in
the meeting and requested anonymity.
The exodus of workers to other sectors was identified as one of the
causes that have led to farm production not meeting the annual plans.
The cooperative currently has 108 members, but the workforce is
“unstable,” according to the local newspaper 5th of September in it
digital edition this Thursday.
“The guys don’t stay with us because we don’t have housing. And they get
married, have kids… create families. Then it’s logical that they seek
work that can gratify their interests,” Mileydis Terencio Ramírez said
at the ANAP meeting.
The official media, however, only reports a part of the anger expressed
by the farmers who attended the meeting, according to what several in
attendance told 14ymedio. “The working conditions here are bad, so
people leave because they can’t progress,” said Lazarus, who works
cultivating beans and yucca in the Rancho Luna area.
According to the official press, “nearly 75% of Cuba’s food program
depends on how much the farmers can produce.” However the southern
cooperative itself hasn’t been able to “satisfy the people’s real
needs.” The Martyrs of Barbados has been proposed to conclude this year
with 7 million pounds of product, well below the more than 22 million
pounds of 1988.
Difficulties with inputs also negatively influence the fieldwork.
Farmers complain of ‘high price, low quality’, and also the lack of
administrative management to ensure a stable supply of products like
footwear to work in agriculture.
“Now they send us 20 pairs of boots. What does that mean for 108
workers? Sometimes we have to work barefoot,” Wilfredo Arias Arias said
at the meeting.
The official report in the 5th of September newspaper didn’t escape
pessimism concluding that “while the debate resolved nothing, at least
it hinted at the problems facing an industry, the peasantry, the job of
feeing the people.”
Source: “Sometimes we have to work barefoot …” says a farmer / 14ymedio,
Orlando Palma | Translating Cuba –