Can I visit a coffee co-operative?
Question: I am thinking of travelling to Cuba in late November. I would really like to visit a coffee co-operative, where coffee is processed. Can you recommend one? Where would I find out about exporting green coffee from Cuba? Are there any festivals on this time of the year?
Answer: To visit an agricultural cooperative in Cuba, arrangements must be made through the Asociación Nacional de Agricultores Pequeños (ANAP or the National Association of Small Farmers).
Founded on 17 May 1961 during its First Congress, ANAP is the organization that represents small farmers and their families who wish to form a cooperative association. Membership is voluntary and today represents the overwhelming majority of Cuban farmers. According to the ANAP website – www.campesinocubano.cu – ANAP has 4,331 agricultural cooperatives that bring together 331,874 members, of which 35,971 (11%) are women. Assistance and support to the cooperatives is provided through ANAP’s national, provincial and municipal structure.
Under ANAP there are two different kinds of cooperatives, the Cooperativa de Producción Agropecuaria (CPA or Agricultural Production Cooperative) and the Cooperativa de Créditos y Servicios (CCS or Credit and Service Cooperative). In the CPA, of which there are 1,089, farmers unite their lands and productive assets to form a cooperative undertaking where work is done collectively, with remuneration based on work contributed. In the CCS, of which there are 3,242, individual ownership is maintained over land and productive assets, with work being organized on a family basis. Cooperative management of the CCS facilitates technical, credit and service assistance to all members.
To explore a possible visit to an agricultural cooperative, including one that produces coffee, contact should be made with ANAP’s national headquarters, in particular with María del Carmen Barroso, who is in charge of International Relations with Canada and the U.S., but who can direct you to the appropriate individual if you come from another country. You can communicate in English. (In the subject line, put Attention: María del Carmen Barroso.) Contact information is listed below:
Asociación Nacional de Agricultores Pequeños (ANAP)
Calle 13, No. 305
e/ H y I
El Vedado – Municipio Plaza
Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba
Telephone (53 7) 832-8586 (Department of International Relations)
Email [email protected]
Regarding the issue of exporting green coffee from Cuba, ANAP can help direct you to the appropriate structures. You might also consult the reply to the following question, which you will find in the Havana Times list of questions:
I am eagerly wanting to import Cuban Marabu charcoal. Please kindly send me details of the supplier. Please put me in touch with direct Manufacturer.
In the response to this question, reference is made to the website for CEPEC – or the Centro para la Promoción del Comercio Exterior de Cuba (Foreign Trade Promotion Centre of Cuba). Under this site – which exists in both Spanish and English at www.cepec.cu – there is a section on Agroindustria Alimentaria (Food Agro-industry), which deals with Cuban agricultural enterprises, foodstuffs, the fishing industry, the sugar industry, among others. You might want to contact them to find out if they can provide you with information about exports from the coffee industry. The telephone for this Section is listed as (53 7) 831-1160 and the email address is[email protected] In their section, under Empresas Asociadas (Associated Enterprises), there is a listing of about 130 enterprises including full name, address, telephone number, email address and website where this latter exists. A number of these enterprises deal with coffee.
As for obtaining information on festivals that are taking place in Cuba during the time of your visit, consult the website for Cuba Absolutely – www.cubaabsolutely.com – and go to their What’s On Cuba section. This provides one of the most up-to-date sources of information available online on cultural and other activities taking place in Cuba at any given time.