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Cuba Food News – Stressed Chickens & Fish Trafficking

Cuba Food News: Stressed Chickens & Fish Trafficking
March 9, 2015
Daniel Benitez (Cafe Fuerte)

HAVANA TIMES — Declining egg production in Havana’s neighboring province
of Artemisa, where a deficit of 2.8 million units was officially
reported in January and February, set off an alarm this last week.

Luis Carlos Perez, director of Artemisa’s poultry industry, shared these
worrying production figures with the provincial press, insisting the
situation has not yet had an impact on the supply and distribution to
Havana.

One of the main reasons which the official claims responsible for the
drop in egg production in the region is “stress caused by climactic
irregularities, such as strong winds, low temperatures and overcast
days”, as well as other difficulties affecting the quality of the feed.

The days in which Fidel Castro boasted that Cuban chickens at the
National Poultry Industry Complex broke all production records (despite
the hurricanes and strong winds that lashed the island) seem distant
now. The times have changed.

Transportation Issues

Perez also made mention of other difficulties, such as the
“transportation of chickens”, particularly egg-laying hens, as well as
health problems reported at several units, adding that certain climactic
improvements and the adequate handling of the birds at production
facilities have already led to increased production. He estimated that
production goals will be surpassed at the close of March.

At any rate, the stress affecting Cuban chickens seems to be a
nationwide problem, as egg production dropped to 2.063.7 billion units
last year, 3.2 million below the figure reported in 2013. Eggs are a key
source of protein for Cuban families.

Artemisa has set a production goal of 247.2 million eggs for 2015, 3.4
million more than were produced last year. The higher production goal
stems from the assembly of new infrastructure that can house an
additional 11 thousand laying hens, starting May this year, Perez reported.

Eggs are also a key product for food production and services run by the
self-employed, who many a time must resort to the black market for
supplies, as is the case with other food products that are scarce at
State markets.

Confiscations in Cienfuegos

The illegal sale of fish and seafood products to private businesses was
dealt a harsh blow in Cienfuegos in recent months following the
confiscation of 11 tons of fish and seafood, five private cars and one
truck belonging to a State company.

The goods were being sold mainly to private restaurants and
bed-and-breakfasts in the region. According to Radio Rebelde, in some
cases, the products were brought from neighboring provinces such as
Villa Clara and Sancti Spiritus.

During operations carried out over the past 13 months, Cuban authorities
confiscated “1.8 tons of lobster, arriving mainly from Sagua la Grande
and Trinidad,” Orlando Diaz, representative of the National Fishing
Inspection Bureau, told the radio.

A truck belonging to an unnamed State company located in the
municipality of Mayjigua was used for these illegal sales. The truck was
carrying a ton and a half of fish.

A total of 300,000 Cuban pesos (some US $12,000) in fines were applied
and 120 pieces of fishing equipment, two refrigeration systems and
dozens of kilometers of nets were confiscated.

The fines applied on illegal suppliers of lobster and shrimp oscillate
between 7,500 and 10,000 Cuban pesos.

One of the smuggled species was the Jocu red snapper, which the Cuban
Ministry of Public Health reports as toxic when consumed in excess of
three pounds.

The reports have not specified how many people were involved in these
activities and whether any are facing criminal charges.

Source: Cuba Food News: Stressed Chickens & Fish Trafficking – Havana
Times.org – http://www.havanatimes.org/?p=109843

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