Cuban agriculture
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Good Friday Potatoes

Good Friday Potatoes / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar
Posted on March 25, 2016

14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, Havana, 25 March 2016 – Expectations soared
two weeks ago when Cuban Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura
affirmed on national television that the first distribution of potatoes
was imminent. This Thursday afternoon the first lines formed at Havana’s
markets, in hopes that Good Friday would bring, in addition to a
holiday, the return to Cuban plates of the precious tuber.

As the evening progressed, the crowds of people anxious to return home
with full bags grew. Their main fear was that the so-called “agros” –
the farm markets – wouldn’t open, due to the religious celebration, but
starting at midnight dozens of trucks were loaded up at the warehouses
and parked outside the capital city’s main markets. “Operation potato”
was underway.

In order to obstruct the work of the inevitable resellers, sales were
limited to ten pounds per customer, and the order was given to maintain
a strict watch so that buyers didn’t go through the line again and
again. In any event, because it was Good Friday, some were accompanied
by their children who didn’t have school.

The price announced on the signs of the stalls was one Cuban peso a
pound (about 4¢ US). But a few yards from the official vendors a bag
with ten pounds was selling for 20 Cuban pesos or its equivalent, two
Cuban Convertible pesos. The customers for these “parallel offers” were
those who preferred to pay more to avoid the long lines, or to say it in
another way, those who could permit themselves the luxury of
substituting cold hard cash for waiting time.

Although the drought and the subsequent unseasonable rains have ravaged
the fields, officials from the Ministry of Agriculture are optimistic
and have predicted that, thanks to “staggering the cultivation,” there
will be more potatoes this year than last. An announcement consumers
have received with suspicion, preferring to buy every potato they can
now… before the tuber rejoins the long list of products that are
unavailable.

Source: Good Friday Potatoes / 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar | Translating
Cuba –
translatingcuba.com/good-friday-potatoes-14ymedio-reinaldo-escobar/

2 Responses to Good Friday Potatoes

  • William Read says:

    There seems little excuse for the poor state of Cuban agriculture, given the unused land that I have seen for myself in many parts of the country. Potatoes are not difficult to grow, or import if the $$$ are available. With the imminent demise of the embargo, if Cuba manages to supply some of the untapped US market with all the cigars and rum that it can buy, I am sure that US potato growers can fill all Cuba’s needs.

    • Compay says:

      As history has shown: income from tourism, trade, rentl of doctors, … nothing has improved Cuban agriculture as the basic reforms it needs to flourish are dogmatically unacceptable to the regime.

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