The collapse of rice production in communist Cuba

Rice is one of the most abundant foods on the planet. It is grown all over the world and provides sustenance to billions of people. Except in Cuba, where socialism has made another bountiful commodity scarce.

Via Martí Noticias (my translation):

Cubans analyze the collapse of rice production

During the rice campaign of 2022 in Cuba, 120,000 tons of rice were harvested out of a plan that expected 180,000. Cuba needs at least 700,000 tons to guarantee the minimum consumption of a population of approximately 11.2 million inhabitants.

In recent months, government authorities have failed to deliver the 7 pounds of rice that are provided through the ration book of the basic basket, while in private markets, dominated by MSMEs, the price of rice averages 250 pesos in national currency per pound.

Amid the food crisis facing Cuba at the moment, authorities called on rice producers to recover cultivation, said the president of the National Assembly of People’s Power, Esteban Lazo, during a recent visit to the Basic Unit of Cooperative Productions (UBPC) South of Jíbaro, located in the area of La Sierpe in Sancti Spíritus, as in an article by the state agency Prensa Latina.

In Sancti Spíritus, Vladimir Ríos Cruz, a resident of the agricultural cooperative Los Cristales, in Jatibonico, told Martí Noticias that in the Jíbaro area, spraying with airplanes no longer occurs due to the high operational cost and lack of fuel, There is also a lack of fertilizers and other resources, while the government capped the price it pays to producers, without considering the production cost.

“The last problem we had in the south of Jíbaro, the issue is that these farmers, who have to buy insecticides, who have to buy a ripener, that’s money, they couldn’t sell the rice at the price they wanted to sell it, no, they had to sell the rice at the price they wanted,” emphasized the farmer.

Emiliano González, an independent farmer in Bayamo, recalls that the agro-industrial complexes (CAI) in the Río Cauto area, two of the most important in the country, have had a very low rice production in recent years.

“Well, look, first of all, supplies have tended to be zero these last few years ago, the other situation, fuels, the other situation is machinery. There used to be good rice production there that started to deteriorate, both the water dikes and the whole economic situation, resulting in no technicians, no engineers, no workers, almost everyone from those places has emigrated,” the farmer said.

In the rice-growing area of Los Palacios, in Pinar del Río, there was collaboration over a decade ago from Vietnamese technicians, who left annoyed and returned to their country a few years ago. Now, there is only a small percentage of rice produced by some individual producers for self-consumption, recounted the farmer Esteban Ajete Abascal.

“A pound of rice is currently at 250 pesos, if all these things had been recovered by now, at least today the province would have the possibility of supplying itself with the rice produced here, in Pinar del Río. It is inconceivable that in many places in this country, even today, the quota has not been fulfilled because imported rice has not been brought in, which has to come from different places,” said Ajete Abascal.

In the agricultural area of Velasco, in the province of Holguín, rice was produced decades ago and today these lands are totally abandoned, from Mayarí, Teresa Miranda Céspedes pointed out.

“The producers do not have fair conditions, you know that here the production has to be delivered to the ACOPIO exploiter, who does not pay,” warned the activist.

Economist Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello pointed to the government as the main culprit responsible for this poor management.

“All these possibilities of planting rice, of having rice harvests, all that has been lost, it has been lost due to the neglect of the dictatorship,” emphasized the economist.

1 thought on “The collapse of rice production in communist Cuba”

  1. You don’t get it. Ordinary Cubans must be kept dependent and nearly desperate for basic necessities, so that they are focused on mere survival from day to day–and thus have neither time nor energy to address the root cause of their miserable existence, which is of course the “revolution,” meaning the dictatorship.

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