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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Cuban Government Approves New Measures to Strengthen Food Production

Havana, Apr 14 - “We trust our producers; in our state company, which has to be strengthened; in the cooperative sector; and in our peasantry, because you are actors who were born and developed with the Revolution, who were dignified with the Revolution, and you have also contributed to the Revolution. "

This is how, on behalf of the leadership of the Cuban Party and Government, the President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz- Canel Bermúdez, expressed in a working meeting held this Tuesday with agricultural producers, experts and scientists from different branches, as well as representatives of various institutions, where 63 measures were approved to boost food production, of which 30 are considered as a priority and some immediately.

"You have alerted us, you have led us to look for a group of transformations that we could no longer postpone in time," said the Head of State after sharing for almost four hours, via videoconference, with more than 1,300 people who they were found in all the provinces of the country.

As a challenge for future work, he called on all those involved to “implement the measures, to produce, to market, to control and to continue in the effort to satisfy our population, to also grow, advance, improve.”

Prior to the dialogue, marked by confidence and optimism, Deputy Prime Minister Jorge Luis Tapia Fonseca explained in detail each of the measures, which, he assured, "were not prepared in an office", and were taken into account for their preparation, with the purpose that its implementation really improves and stimulates the development of the productive forces.

"Seeking more production and responding to unsatisfied demands" is one of the main challenges, emphasized the Prime Minister, Manuel Marrero Cruz, in the meeting, where the second secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, José Ramón Machado Ventura; the Vice President of the Republic, Salvador Valdés Mesa; the deputy prime ministers; and heads of various agencies.

According to Tapia Fonseca, after the comprehensive analysis carried out on the development of agriculture in the nation, the measures fundamentally respond to problems associated with structural, organizational and productive issues; land use and tenure; as well as of a financial nature.

One of the most recurrent approaches among producers, recognized the Vice Prime Minister, is related to electricity rates. Hence, after careful evaluations, it was decided to reduce them in all agricultural activities. These rates, he ratified, will be fixed throughout the year, regardless of the fluctuation of oil prices in the international market and the internal generation structure.

This decision to lower the rates, both for electricity and water, he reported, means an additional expenditure of the State Budget, around 240 and 400 million pesos.

Another aspect included in the measures is that of prices in livestock. In this regard, Tapia Fonseca said that it was decided to maintain the price per liter of cow's milk at 7.50 CUP. In the event that the monthly delivery plan to the industry is met or exceeded, the cost will be 9.00 CUP. 

In addition, the released sale of milk and its byproducts is authorized based on compliance with indicators established by livestock, quality and safety, and the contracted delivery plan; as well as the commercialization of meat from small and large cattle. 

On the other hand, as an essential element within the new measures, it defined the preponderance given to the contracting process, after the purpose of guaranteeing that the contract is the instrument of relationship between the productive forms and the individual producers, in the plans of sowing, production and sale. This, he asserted, is a strategic, core issue that requires a daily and systematic evaluation.

In general, what was approved also includes aspects related to the prices of inputs and some agricultural products; the process of hiring the workforce; marketing; the promotion of local development projects; the implementation of financial measures; and the payment of taxes.

Signed by profound interventions and the recognition of how much work has been done from the country's leadership to eliminate the obstacles that prevent greater food production, during the exchange, in which about twenty officials participated, several of them highlighted that in a general sense the measures “include the main approaches made from the base”.

"The wisdom and contributions that producers make when they have explained from their experiences the significance and scope that these measures can have is very encouraging," considered the President of the Republic when making the conclusions of the meeting.

Associated with this, he assured that from this moment on, a group of topics remains open that will continue to be worked on. We commit ourselves - he said - that we will continue to find ways and solutions, in the search also to build consensus. These are urgent measures that must be applied, but we will gradually continue to implement other actions.

The Head of State recalled that these measures are also part of what is designed in Cuba to face the current scenario that the country is experiencing, tempered by the intensification of the economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States Government and the impact of the pandemic caused in the world by COVID-19.

All this, he pointed out, led us to approve the Economic-Social Development Strategy, not only to resist, but also to move forward, and give greater impetus to the National Economic and Social Development Plan until 2030, and reach the nearby VIII Congress of the Party with the highest number of guidelines fulfilled.

As part of this entire strategy, he valued, one of the radical changes that was essential to make concrete was precisely associated with the obstacles, and with the structural, functional, productive, service and relationship problems between the different economic actors of the agricultural system.

Reaching this group of measures, he stressed, has been a democratic, participatory, inclusive exercise, where the criteria of producers, both state and non-state, have been taken into account; also from experts, academics, research centers, agricultural management structures and many other actors in the country.

In his words, the president also commented on the need to create more adequate mechanisms to acquire inputs; make our companies and producers more efficient; develop rural communities to seek greater stability in the workforce; and promote social responsibility in all productive forms.(Presidency Cuba)