Cuban agriculture
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And where did that glass of milk go?

And where did that glass of milk go?
ORLANDO PALMA, La Habana | Marzo 26, 2015

The newspaper Granma published Wednesday a comprehensive report on milk
production in the province of Camagüey. This scenario is grim and
confirms the downward trend in terms of delivery of this precious food.
Since 2012, Camagüey’s milk production and sales to the industry have
declined, both in the cooperative and private sectors.

Although in the last five paragraphs it outlined with moderate optimism
the possibilities of the sector recovery program, a reading of the
article, signed by journalist Miguel Febles, reveals a problem that
extends across many sectors of the economy, which can be summed up in
the affirmation that the bureaucracy continues to be the heaviest weight
dragging down food production in Cuba.

In short, the problem is that farmers must deliver the milk they produce
to a pre-determined collection center. There samples are taken to assess
the quality of each delivery, which is tied to the price of the product.
However, instead of paying everyone according to the quality of food
they bring to the center, the quality is averaged across all deliveries
and the price paid to the farmer is derived from that average. The
result is to demotivate improvements in quality.

One of those interviewed, Alexis Gil Perez, director general of the
Provincial Dairy Company, explains that the contracts are not with
individual farmers but with “the productive base.” Gil Perez argues that
this does not violate any procedure. “If there are opinions or
dissatisfactions, we would have to revise the documents that govern the
activity, and this decision can only be taken at the national level,” he
adds. “Meanwhile, we must comply with the established provisions. It is
not within my powers to vary the range of what we pay for milk.”

In a ceremony held in Camagüey on 26 July 2007 {commemorating the rebel
attack on the Moncada Baracks), General Raul Castro said that every
Cuban would be able to drink a glass of milk. Nearly eight years after
that desire failed, the immediate proposal is not even to improve the
distribution of what is collected, but to stop the decline in milk
production observed in that province since 2012.

Milk production in Cuba only covers 50% of domestic demand, so the
country needs to import half of the milk consumed. Its distribution is
controlled by the government and private companies are forbidden from
trading in milk products, even in the farmer’s markets.

Source: And where did that glass of milk go? –
http://www.14ymedio.com/englishedition/where-did-that-glass-milk-go-cuba_0_1749425061.html

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