Canadian Wheat to Provide Cuba with Bread for Two Weeks

A bread line in Havana. Photo: 14ymedio

The director of Logistics of the Food Industry blames the US for the shortage although the embargo does not apply to this product

By 14ymedio

HAVANA TIMES – The arrival of 21,000 tons of Canadian wheat will allow Cuban bread production to resume. The good times will likely be short-lived, however, because this amount will be only enough for about two weeks.

Osmany Rodriguez Long, director of logistics for the company Food Industry, said on the Cuban television program Buenos Días that the shipment had arrived several days ago, without specifying exactly when, and that flour mills in Havana began processing it on Sunday prior to its shipment to other provinces.

According to websites that monitor maritime traffic, the Irida GS, a ship which sails under the flag of the Marshall Islands and often transports grain, started its journey in Montreal and entered the port of Havana on Sunday.

Rodriguez Long added that on June 11 another ship would deliver 1,200 tons of wheat to Santiago, though it would arrival later than expected. “It took 75 days to pay the charges because the money had to be routed through various banks to get around the blockade,” explained Rodriguez, who insisted that Cuba’s bread shortage is a result of U.S. policy even though food products are exempt from the trade embargo.

“It was impossible to get coverage before because of the persecution to which we’ve been subjected, because of the blockade,” he said. “Cuba has contracts for other wheat deliveries after June 12,” added journalist Lázaro Manuel Alonso, who also announced the arrival of the latest shipments on his Facebook page. These shipments, he said, will allow authorities to guarantee bread will be available in June and July.

Alonso added, “Despite these shipments, food production on Sunday was impacted in several areas, as will be the case on Monday. With flour now being processed in the capital, the situation should be more favorable by Tuesday.

According to the Ciego de Ávila newspaper Invasor, 30% of the province’s inhabitants were without bread and a similar situation is expected tomorrow, Monday, says Yadiel Perez Tellez, a provincial government official.

Several provinces have experienced similar situations, and not just recently. Since April or May, they have had to resort to using different types of flour to guarantee supply.

Last week in Havana, Food Industry announced that bread would be produced and sold using a mixture of 60% wheat flour and 40% semolina.

Other areas, such as the town of Bartholomé Masó in Granma province, are not as lucky. It was announced last week that bread would be available only every other day there and that 15% of the bread’s composition would be corn flour. Officials acknowledged this will, of course, produce a certain change in the texture, color and flavor, but said they were resorting to this option in order to fulfill their production commitments.

To keep up production, bakers in Cienfuegos province have also had to use lower quality flour, something that irritates local residents and was criticized as “an ongoing affront in the production of this vital food source” in the pages of the official press. “The resulting bread has a rough, coarse texture, crumbles to the touch, lacks volume, is dark in color, has a strong, damp odor and tastes acidic from having been fermented too long,” lambasted the news website 5 de Septiembre.

In Sancti Spritus, one of the provinces that have caught the attention of the press, there have been attempts to establish partnerships with the private sector in an effort to improve bread production. But the problem is the same, no matter the system of management: the raw material is not there, and when it is, it does not last long.

Translated by Translating Cuba

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times.

4 thoughts on “Canadian Wheat to Provide Cuba with Bread for Two Weeks

  • As a Canadian I am glad that we supplied wheat when there is such great need in Cuba. I hope that more can be done on generous terms to support the people of Cuba. Canada is one of the largest sources of tourists for Cuba and many Canadians sympathize with Cuba’s difficulties. More support with a better approach to develop agriculture in Cuba is essential.

  • There is no shortage of wheat in the world, why in a country with a great growing climate can’t Cuba produce Wheat one of the easiest crops to grow? it’s not an environmental issue it looks like it’s a political issue.. I just drove across Central Washington State in the US, huge piles of wheat stored outside the shipping terminals. So much there is not enough inside storage for it.

  • Fchow8888, fails to note that he is referring to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, causing a shortage of wheat for Africa and the Arabic countries which normally obtain their supplies from Russia and Ukraine. He also fails to note that wheat prices in Europe are low, that Canada could supply more wheat, but that sellers expect payment! That is the problem in Cuba! Cuba has no money, but is dependent upon hand-outs.

  • Has HavanaTimes heard of the Ukraine War ?

    No mention of it in an article about wheat shortage ( global ) ?

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