Cuban agriculture
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Agricultural production in Cuba up by 10.3 % in 1st quarter

Agricultural production in Cuba up by 10.3 % in 1st quarter
Published June 29, 2015 EFE

Agricultural production in Cuba grew by 10.3 percent during this year’s
first quarter compared with the same period in 2014, although it was not
enough to satisfy the food demands of the island’s population, the
official Trabajadores weekly reported Monday.

The indicator includes an increase of 13.9 percent in non-sugar-cane
agricultural production and 5.7 percent growth in livestock raising,
according to recent figures compiled by the National Statistics and
Information Office, or Onei, cited by the publication.

In addition, the report notes that agricultural production had an impact
on the announced rise in the GDP of a little over 4 percent during the
first quarter.

Between January and March, food production grew by 68,700 tons, or 11.4
percent, led by potatoes, with 41,100 tons more production than in the
first quarter of 2014.

But according to the analysis, 11,700 tons less of sweet potatoes were
harvested, a 9.8 percent decline, and the production of taro or
“malanga” dropped by 5,600 tons, or 8 percent, while banana production
rose by 18,000 tons, an increase of 10.1 percent.

In the case of rice, production fell by 13.3 percent due to the ongoing
drought, the report said, while egg production was down by 2.7 percent
and milk production fell by 11.9 percent.

In addition, a 23.4 percent increase in vegetable production was
registered along with a 11.1 percent increase in the production of
beans, one of the traditional elements in the Cuban diet, although corn
production declined by 6.8 percent.

In livestock, the report noted a 12.5 percent increase in beef
production, while pork production rose by 7.8 percent.

The Cuban government says that increasing food production is a matter of
“national security,” given that the island imports 80 percent of the
food its residents consume each year and half of those products are also
produced by local farmers.

The handing over of idle land to people who want to farm it was one of
the first economic reforms undertaken by the government of Raul Castro
to revive the agricultural sector in a country where the citizenry
spends $2 billion per year on food.

As a result of the measure, more than 1.7 million hectares (4.25 million
acres) of idle land has been distributed to some 200,000 people since
2008 in accord with the government’s policy to increase food production,
although the land has been taken back from about 43,000 of those
prospective farmers because they did not know how to cultivate it. EFE

Source: Agricultural production in Cuba up by 10.3 % in 1st quarter |
Fox News Latino –
http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2015/06/29/agricultural-production-in-cuba-up-by-103-in-1st-quarter/

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