HAVANA TIMES — In most countries farm cooperatives are owned by their members who elect a board of directors and/or administrators. In Cuba it’s very different; the state-run coops have little autonomy, an example of which was the decision this week to remove 632 presidents of farm co-ops in one fell swoop.
The unilateral decision was announced by Felix Gonzalez the head of ANAP, Cuba’s small farmers association that includes cooperatives.
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“A cooperative cannot function well if leaders in charge don’t work well,” said Gonzalez.
He added that the heads of the cooperatives need training to be up for the challenges posed by the economic changes the Communist Party and the government are trying to implement on the island.
Cuba is currently importing somewhere between 60 and 80 percent of its foodstuffs, and must spend upwards of US $2 billion a year to pay the tab, noted Xinhua news.
President Raul Castro has made turning around the sluggish national production a priority of his government, however offcial production figures have continued to fall despite hundreds of thousands of hectares of land being given out in usufruct in recent years.
Rising international food prices make the fallback need to import most food a strategy that is unsustainable for the weak Cuban economy.