By Circles Robinson
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.