Agricultural production in Artemisa, a province that used to be one of Havana’s bread baskets, has declined. in previous years. This situation, which has been extended to the rest of Cuba, has forced the Government to import a large part of the already small basic basket, reports the AFP agency.
Many experts have warned of the risk of food insecurity on the Island. In mid-August, economist Pedro Monreal said in a thread x WHAT “All the cases are very worrying,” when referring to food not produced in Cuba and it should be important.
A farmer in his 60s from Artemisa province who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity said his lands were “sacred,” but “there is a lack of manure, fertilizers and seeds” available. This farmer belongs to a cooperative that receives all inputs from the Government. Now he points out that they don’t “because they didn’t give it.”
“We have bad tractors, we have no resources, no fuel, we don’t get oil or tires. We have to cultivate the land with a team of oxen,” said the farmer. In each city of Artemisa there is a collection center to store herbs and sell them, but “These bases are almost non-existent, there is no way to sell or transport the crops,” added the farmer.
In a nearby farm, Jesús, another guajiro who has worked his land for 40 years, said the yield of malanga, a tuber prized by Cubans, has halved. This plantation “gave four to six sacks per row, before it doubled, but now the harvest is luck and truth,” explained Jesús.
According to official figures, agricultural production in Cuba will fall by 35% between 2019 and 2023. The production of sugar, which was once a symbolic industry in Cuba, fell from 816,000 tons in the 2020-2021 season to 470,000 in the 2021-2022 harvest. Most of the rice and beans, staple foods of Cubans, come from abroad.
“We have a law on food sovereignty and no food, we will approve a law that promotes animal farming and we don’t have animals, and we have a fishing law (…) and nothing’ y fish,” recognized Miguel Díaz-Canel himself in December 2022 in front of the National Assembly of People’s Power.
In September, The Minister of Economy, Alejandro Gil, said that the Government imports “almost 100% of the family basket”against 80% before the coronavirus pandemic.
Etienne Labande, representative of the World Food Program (WFP), admitted that the threat of food insecurity in this scenario is real. “There is a shortage of food produced locally and it is known that importing to Cuba is very complicated, so there is a riskLabande told AFP.
For Pavel Vidal, a Cuban economist and academic at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Cali, Colombia, “if they do not bet on the logic of the market, the reforms imposed by the Government will not bear fruit.”
According to official figures, Imports in the first half of 2023 reached 4,368 million dollars, of which 1,600 million are for food. and most of the remaining amount to extract the oil. Cuban exports reached only 1,282 million dollars.