By Circles Robinson

Old Havana's Ambos Mundos Hotel

HAVANA TIMES, Nov 21 — Cuba will now allow its collective and individual farmers to sell directly to businesses in the tourist industry, a move geared to provide incentives for quality products and timely deliveries.

The move takes effect on December 1, and prices will be set be the market instead of by officials, reported the official Cuban press on Monday.

In the past the long obstacle course of intermediaries from the fields to hotel dining rooms has been a constant complaint in both the agriculture and tourism industries. However, breaking with the inertia of decades seemed impossible to achieve.

The new economic reforms being implemented by the Raul Castro administration have swept away restrictions, now called needless, regarding the sales of vehicles and housing and allowed the licensing of a certain number of small private businesses.

Castro’s loosening of the bureaucratic reigns over the agricultural sector is consistent with his goal to increase production and market supply, in an effort to reduce outlays for imported foodstuffs, which are becoming increasingly unsustainable.

Reuters notes that “poor food and service are frequently cited as reasons for tourists not returning to Cuba.” The hope is that the new reform –with a more direct relationship between the farmer and purchaser- will improve the situation.


3 thoughts on “Cuba Farmers Get New Market Freedom

  • very nice

  • This is good news. As I have said a number of times in the HT comments section, Cuba should look at the historic experience of Denmark to guide its reform of the agricultural sector.

    In the late 1800s, Denmark was a poor country. Most land was owned by feudal landlords who kept their foot on the necks of the peasant farmers. Then, the farmers took over the reins of government and instituted sweeping reforms. Land was distributed to farmers in private plots, and things changed dramatically.

    Since the country had poor land and little sunshine, the newly-empowered small farming families began to cooperate among themselves to improve their lives. Farmers bought economic investments for their farms cooperatively, getting fertilizers and implements for lower prices. And they organized to sell their produce cooperatively, getting therefore higher prices.

    It was recognized that what the more industrialized countries surrounding them wanted was higher quality eggs, poultry, pork and milk products, etc. Denmark soon became famous for high quality ham, bacon, cheese and other agricultural products. The tiny country soon became prosperous, and it was due to hard work and cooperation. But it was made possible by the farmers owning their own land and being in control of their own investment and marketing responsibilities.

    Denmark became what they called a cooperative republic. It was still capitalist, but the people became obsessed with the benefits of economic and social cooperation. That country is now known as “the happiest place on earth.” Cuba, with state power in the hands of a sincere socialist party, can accomplish the same sort of turnaround in the agricultural sector if she will just get rid of the prejudice against private land ownership.

    The small farmers of Cuba will make that country rich, if only the state will support them wholeheartedly.

  • This is great news for both farmers and tourists. Eating locally grown food as much as possible is a significant trend in Canada currently, as it likely is elsewhere. When resorts are able to offer more local produce, I think it could be an added marketing tool, especially when promoting to Canadian travelers. I know that the people I travel with would be delighted to see more locally grown food on the buffet at the little resort we often visit, Club Amigo Marea del Portillo, in Granma.

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