Monday, February 26, 2024

The Cuban food business operates at affordable prices

The purchase of recycled bottles from the population is one of the actions of the small industry Los Cuki, one of the 365 private companies that until November 2023 are counted in Pinar del Río, to lower the cost of producing and selling food.
Havana, January 30.- “We are trying to make the product reach the market a little cheaper,” said José Joaquín Díaz, founder of Los Cuki MSME, which, with the machinery assembled by his own group, produces about three tons of food per day. processed by Consolación del Sur, Pinar del Río.

For the 62-year-old agronomy graduate, the development of the family business requires many challenges, among them improving the technology of the processing plant, obtaining more raw materials, and continuing to sell his products at a low price. that price. The community is as much affected by inflation as the rest of the country.

“We have a point of sale (daily) in the market (in Consolación del Sur), with almost 18 products. On Saturdays, we participate in the provincial fairs, and we also supply points of sale in the city of Pinar del Río,” he explained.

In these places, the population finds offers such as natural fruit pulps and nectars, bottles of tomato juice and puree, Chinese sauce, vinegar, and Creole marinade, which cost between 30 and 150 pesos in the national currency (an equivalent price of 0.25 to 1.25 dollars according to the official exchange rate of the country).

Resolution 148/2023, “Methodology for the preparation of costs and cost sheets for products and services for the evaluation of prices and rates,” of the Ministry of Finance and Prices, which has been implemented since July 2023, is one of the government’s measures to try. to stop Cuba’s rampant inflation.

Recycled packaging and other solutions

Among the alternatives to maintaining affordable price ranges, the administrator of Los Cuki chose to buy empty bottles directly from the population for five pesos in the national currency (0.04 USD) rather than paying 50 pesos (0.41 USD) to local MSMEs production. they

Due to the delay of the Ministry of Agriculture to facilitate access to nylon for food packaging, Díaz decided to buy a roll of that material and prepare product bags with sealers installed in small industry.

“But it’s been almost a year since we packaged anything because there are almost no vegetable or fruit crops,” complained the businessman, referring to the effects of Hurricane Ian as it passed through western Cuba in September 2022.

“The restoration of the province is gradual; we started the planting campaign in January. Let’s start by looking at the guava. But it is a very expensive fruit,” he added.

Regarding this, he pointed out that farmers and cooperatives sell a box of guavas for about 1,500 Cuban pesos (12.5 USD). This adds to the cost of its processing and packaging, making the final product more expensive.

However, he emphasized that they always try to sell their products at low prices, “because the one who suffers is the one who goes to the counter (to buy). I have several family members who also have to go too the counter.

Beyond the productive chain

As part of the productive chain of economic actors in Pinar del Río, Los Cuki MSME has contracts with provincial companies La Conchita and the citrus production company. “We support each other. They give us some raw materials that we need to prepare juice and nectar formulas, for example,” said Díaz.

Precisely, four women and men from the community suffering from various diseases have benefited from this production line based on the use of natural fruits. Every month, they get 30 juices each.

By linking with another local private company, the small industry hopes to have a supply of sugar that will allow it to take advantage of its capacity to produce canned fruit sweets, such as guava hulls (halves), Díaz announced.

Another project, he added, consists of starting an oil plant from the processing of sunflower, soybean, peanut, and sesame seeds.

The businessman, who was criticized by many when he asked for a bank loan in 2017, bought a bicycle and, under a self-employed worker’s license, started selling sweets on the street and then built a private company. Now he wants to turn Los Cuki into a local development project. (2024)

World Nation News Desk
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