Cuban farmers warn their harvests are on the verge of being lost due to blackouts

When socialism arrived in Cuba in 1959, the island was prosperous and self-sufficient. But after 65 years of corruption, incompetence, mismanagement, and oppression, the people have been left starving. The resulting destruction of socialism is threatening Cuba’s latest crops, which cannot be irrigated or maintained due to chronic electrical blackouts.

Via Martí Noticias (my translation):

Farmers warn that entire harvests are on the verge of being lost due to the energy crisis in Cuba.

Independent Cuban farmers have alerted Martí Noticias that power outages are causing serious disruptions in agricultural production, a fact that translates into a greater deficit of food available for the population.

From Pinar del Río, the leader of the Independent Farmers League of Cuba, Esteban Ajete Abascal, warned that the situation in the countryside there is critical due to the lack of energy.

“Some places in the western part of the island, where authorities have provided a bit of fuel to activate generators during power cuts, but it’s insufficient,” the opponent said.

“There are many farmers who rely on electric motors and cannot irrigate crops, and many products that require refrigeration, such as onions and garlic, are spoiling because of the long power outages. The country is going through an emergency situation, everything is paralyzed, a country cannot function without electricity,” commented the farmer.

In San Antonio de los Baños, in the province of Artemisa, the usufructuary Daniel Alfaro Frías pointed out that the Ministry of Agriculture (MINAGRI) had already forced agricultural producers to use electric water pumping equipment instead of those using fuel some time ago.

“Just this morning, I saw some fields planted with corn and beans, which were already ripening. They’re getting too much sun and very little water, so they’re being lost. The shortage of food affecting the people is going to increase,” Alfaro Frías opined.

The agricultural cooperative of Los Cristales, in Arroyo Blanco, in Jatibonico, in the province of Sancti Spíritus, is not exempt from the crisis in agricultural production, exacerbated by the blackouts, highlighted Vladimir Ríos Cruz.

Already in Sancti Spíritus, there is a complicated situation with the decrease in the livestock population from the death of cattle due to lack of water and food.

“All the irrigation infrastructure here is electrical, and that’s dead. Right here in the cooperative, the irrigation of sugarcane is electrical, the impact is devastating because forget about rain here. That is to say, there’s no way to solve the problem, not with electricity, not by selling you petroleum,” Ríos Cruz expressed.

Emiliano González is a farmer in the Horno area, in Bayamo, in the province of Granma, and said that the rice harvest in Río Cauto is heavily affected.

“There’s a very strong drought because it doesn’t rain, while extracting water from rivers, reservoirs, and wells is difficult due to the lack of electricity. Practically, almost the entire government’s rice harvest has collapsed. The few remaining are private producers and are in full harvest, which means they now need fuel, they need electricity, to be able to pass the harvest through machines and to be able to dry it,” the farmer explained.

“There are no crops. How can you work in agriculture if you don’t have water? There’s no water for the animals. Without electricity, you can’t extract water from wells,” described the farmer.

According to a report from the Agri-Food Commission of the Cuban Parliament presented in December 2023, “agricultural production, since the conception of the plans, is below the demands, productive potentials, and the needs of the population and the economy.”

“The negative results shown have objective and subjective problems as fundamental causes. Many of the objective problems date back to the 1990s and have worsened in the last five years: decapitalization of the workforce, technological obsolescence, and chronic lack of inputs and energy carriers. This is aggravated by the effects of climate change, which cause damage to the living organisms that make up agricultural production systems,” the official report states.

Cuban authorities also acknowledge that “productive programs that ensure the food balance for the basic basket and social consumption show marked deterioration, causing basic food products to be imported.”

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