Pork Is in Danger of Extinction on Cuban Tables

To give an idea, in 2016, a great year for the production of pork from Cienfuegos, 20,296 tons were delivered, compared to 3,919 in 2021. (Photo: Paul K.)

In the central Cuban province of Sancti Spiritus it took two months to deliver the same amount of pork meat produced in one day in 2018.

By 14ymedio

HAVANA TIMES – Pork production continues to fall and the well seems bottomless. This Thursday the alarms went off in Sancti Spíritus when it was learned that in the first two months of the year, the province delivered the ridiculous amount of 52 tons of meat, the equivalent of the production of a single day in 2018. The previous year, 2017, was they reached 17,400 tons of pork, contributed by 311 producers, while in 2021 there were 3,182 and only 99 people dedicated to it.

Félix Duarte Ortega, a member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Party and head of its Agri-Food Department, asked that the pig breeding program be restored, as well as to preserve the facilities and “make them productive now.” However, he did not explain how to do it or give solutions to some producers who end up throwing in the towel due to the lack of aid in a context of hyperinflation that aggravates the perpetual crisis in the Cuban countryside.

Quite the contrary, the official scolded those who seek to earn a living in another way, for not contributing to feeding the country. “In this province the bottom has been reached, when we also see that of the Sancti Spíritus producers, the majority have abandoned the pig program, and we are at a time when the Revolution needs to recover productive capacities and put into practice lessons learned from other stages.”

A producer, Yarién Negrín Cáceres, took the floor, and made the same recommendation, saying that the recipe to recover pork meat is none other than work. As simple as that.

In addition, he warned that “the country today is not in a position to ensure basic food (fodder) as it was until a few years ago” and recommended a tool that, by itself, is not easy to produce results: the will. “It’s time to start recovering pork production by producing food ourselves in agricultural areas, putting forward the will, taking advantage of existing capacities and breeding experience.” continue reading

It is not hidden that the collapse crosses the borders of Sancti Spiritus, and just 24 hours before Cienfuegos was facing a similar truth. Duarte paraded through that province to verify, also, the catastrophic data. In 2016, a great year for the production of pork from Cienfuegos, 20,296 tons were collected, compared to 3,919 in 2021.

There, too, he insisted that the pigs must be fed with corn, cassava (in flour and yogurt), sweet potatoes, honey with fish and crop residues, “among other local solutions” in the absence of fodder proteins, as well as being abreast of scientific innovations that allow increasing provisions for the pig.

He also tried to win over Cienfuegos producers with humanitarian reasons, forgetting that they can hardly cover their needs, and alluded to their responsibility to provide pork for social consumption (hospitals, schools, day care centers and nursing homes) and the basic market basket of the population.

Where figures are not known is from Ciego de Ávila. The information that has transpired so far is reduced to the broadcast of a short video on Canal Caribe in which the “limitations” in the pig production area are discussed. The brief report shows several “successful” producers recommending that others use new techniques from the University’s Swine Research Institute, because they have helped them.

The tour continues in Villa Clara, where last year 4,400 tons of pork were produced, somewhat better than previous years but tiny when compared to the 20,000 tons as recently as 2019 that led it to be one of the epicenters of the pig farming on the island.

Félix Duarte Ortega heard the same complaints as in his previous evaluations: the high prices of imported feed and supplies and the need to access foreign equipment for food processing. And to the same ills, the same remedies, the official must have recommended, like everyone else, to encourage breeding and take advantage of the remains.

At the beginning of March, the Camagüey provincial newspaper, Adelante also published the seriousness of the situation, in a report on the data entitled The Pig: What it Was is no Longer. Although Camagüey pork production has traditionally been well below those mentioned above, in 2017 it exceeded 9,350 tons, while in 2021 4,706 were planned and barely 1,493 were achieved. The text details the sharp drop in feed imports, which went from 65,500 tons in 2018 to 17,400 last year.

Presumably, the evaluation of the situation throughout the Island will continue, but there will not be many differences. Meanwhile, in the markets, the former star product of Cuban cuisine, depositary of the population’s faith in the consumption of animal protein, is barely to be found. As the Adelante report warns, the pig is beginning to be on the list of endangered species.

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Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times



6 thoughts on “Pork Is in Danger of Extinction on Cuban Tables

  • Good that Cubans are eating less or no meat! Meat is the cause of cancers and heart disease. Would that Cuba would start manufacturing and selling tofu, as is available in most of the world today. I found none in bodegas last December.

  • I have no I’ll wishes for the Cuban people. I have many Cuban friends from my years of bringing young Canadian students to study with their young Cuban colleagues, through the international language of music. Cuba has much to offer, but the current political climate poses a dilemma for us Canadians. Yes, boycotting Cuba will hurt everyday Cubans who struggle to make ends meet. But this is nowhere near the struggle of our Ukrainian friends and family as they are caught up in a senseless war, invented by Russia, a stalwart friend of the Cuban government. Canadians who travel to Cuba this year for vacations are pouring tax dollars into a government that is supporting the genocide and war crimes being perpetrated on innocent Ukrainians. Canada has close ties to Ukrainian people. Canadians have a long demonstrated friendship with Cuba. Thus, the dilemma. If the tourist industry suffers failure in Cuba it will squarely the fault of this idiotic move by Russia to eliminate a centuries old, proud, independent nation, Ukraine, while Cuban tourist government and other officials throw their support behind this ugly stain on history. What’s a Canadian who has feet in both countries to do? Viva Cuba. Viva Canada. Viva Ukraine

  • I agree with Stephen. I visited Cuba last month and all I heard was thanks and praise that Canadians are visiting Cuba. Everybody I know brings an extra bag filled with supplies for the the Cuban people in hotels, on the street, etc..

    Realize that we love the Cuban people. Suggesting that Canadians refrain from visiting and helping the Cuban people because it may help a government (which is socialist!) Is truly idiotic.

    I understand some people hate the Cuban government and whats to starve them out but it won’t work and you will end up starving the people too. The Cuban people need foreign money and the socialist government needs money too!

    Don’t you think the Pandemic is the cause for lack of corn and other feed for the pigs? Cuba needs tourism! Why else was it so much better pre-pandamic? Get over your hate and think to help.

  • Should Canadians, or any other tourist for that matter, visit Cuba for a vacation seems to be the gist of the responses to this article.

    First, let me be very clear. What is taking place in Ukraine is an absolute atrocity nothing short of genocide perpetrated by the top military leaders in Russia. What has alleged to have taken place in Bucha, and probably other undiscovered sites in Ukraine, is unspeakable horror and needs to be fully investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice in a Nuremburg type trial with the guilty severely punished.

    T. Hill writes: “At a time when Cuba could use our tourist dollars we must decide whether to support Cuba in its time of need or boycott it because Cuba has thrown its support behind the genocide and war crimes being committed against our Ukrainian cousins by Russia.”

    Let’s be very, very clear. The Cuban people have not, absolutely not, thrown their support behind the genocide and war crimes being committed against Ukrainian people by Russia. Perhaps the writer is confusing the ordinary Cuban people with the Cuban communist government leaders, particularly the military, and lumping them all together as one homogeneous group. That is clearly erroneous.

    A very clear distinction needs to be made between what the Cuban communist government leaders publicly do and support and what the ordinary Cuban feels and believes. Because Cuba is a communist totalitarian state the will and feelings of ordinary Cubans are suppressed and not known because there is no free press, no free elections, no free opportunity to express oneself on the island. There is a major, complete, disconnect between the Cuban communist government leaders and the ordinary Cubans these communist leaders purport to represent.

    Boycotting travel to Cuba by Canadians or any other tourist only proliferates more suffering in this world. The ordinary Cuban home owner who rents out a room or two to a traveler is able to feed his family and support his local community. The ordinary Cuban taxi driver who shuttles tourists from place to place is only trying to earn a living to support his family. His living wage is totally dependent on tourism.

    Likewise, the Cuban restaurant owner who has seen his precarious eatery suffer financially during the pandemic when tourists did not arrive is now hoping that a few foreign visitors do arrive so that he too like so many like him can earn a few bucks to keep his flailing business alive and have a little money left over to support his family.

    Visiting Cuba now is financially supporting the suffering ordinary Cuban. Visitors bring with them in their luggage medicines, clothes, toiletries, and other essential items that ordinary Cubans would never be able to see, certainly not in a Cuban pharmacy, or purchase in Cuba.

    Each Canadian visitor will have to make a moral decision about a trip to Cuba now. The people of Ukraine are being subjugated to horrendous suffering at the hands of the Russian military, an ally of the communist commanders in Cuba. The ordinary people of Cuba, definitely not on the same scale of suffering, have also, and continue to this day, to be continuously subjugated to suffering for the past 60 plus years and are relinquishing their country in droves in order for the suffering to cease.

    For those poor, unfortunate Cubans left behind on the island who rely heavily on some pecuniary tangible help from abroad, a Canadian contemplating a Cuban vacation to them is a life saver. Support ordinary Cubans in their time of need.

  • With regards to the T. Hill comment: the answer is clear. Boycott Cuba! Only Cubans can effect their political future. At present, Cubans are being lied to by their failed government as further evidenced by the scarcity of pork. I mean really? Pork? Pigs will almost eat anything. But anything means something. Obviously, the Castro dictatorship can’t even feed the pigs! Anyway, if tourists don’t go to Cuba, the government will have to explain why. The international press will tell the truth. The Castros’ support of the war criminal Putin. Yes, war criminal! The evidence from Bucha, Ukraine is compelling. Of course the Castros will continue to lie and spin reality to justify being on the wrong side of history again but the tourism boycott will add fuel to the fire that will eventually burn the Castro regime down to the ground. To continue to spend Canadian dollars in Cuba would be spitting on the trenches filled with the bodies of innocent civilian men, women and children of Ukraine slaughtered by Putin’s assassins.

  • At the tourist all inclusive resorts does pork continue on the dinner menus? Tourists should be aware that we are provided with food Cubans cannot obtain, as we use up their resources. Alas, us Canadians face a dilemma. At a time when Cuba could use our tourist dollars we must decide whether to support Cuba in its time of need or boycott it because Cuba has thrown its support behind the genocide and war crimes being committed against our Ukrainian cousins by Russia. We have many choices where to spend our tourist dollars. We must decide whether it is appropriate to travel to Cuba, which unfortunately, has chosen to be the wrong side of history.

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