By Daniel Benitez  (Cafe Fuerte)

Sancti Spiritus diary famers.
Sancti Spiritus diary famers.

HAVANA TIMES — The production of cow’s milk in Cuba fell once again (by 10.5 million liters) in the early months of the year, keeping the downward trend since 2013.

The production decline in the first quarter of 2015 (around 12%) compared to the same period of the previous year seems to be influenced by an elementary factor: 19.000 fewer milking cows.

The figures from the National Bureau of Statistics and Information (ONEI) show a production from January to March of 76.9 million liters. The average yield of the 311.000 cows milked was 2.7 liters.

But it’s not only the cows delivering less milk. Also buffaloes and goats decreased their production by 200 thousand and 100 thousand liters respectively.

The promised glass of milk

The numbers indicate that today in the Cuban countryside there are some 6,900 buffaloes ready to deliver milk, 4.000 less than in 2014. The goats also decreased, as the 11,900 registered mean seven thousand less than the previous year.

The results show that the glass of milk that President Raul Castro promised on the table of all Cubans in 2007 is still far from reach, even though the price of milk powder in convertible currency (CUC) was reduced in April this year.

The situation of eggs for sale was not promising either: in the first quarter of 2015, 2.7 million units less were obtained compared to last year.

The agricultural sector has in the non-state entities, such as the different cooperatives called UBPCs, the CPA and CCS, and the private individual growers, the main producers of meats, vegetables and all kinds of food. The greatest contribution of government farms is in citrus: 36.5 percent of what was harvested and 22.9 percent of the potatos.

The state participation in corn (2.2%), fruit (2.7) and tomatoes (5.7), is minimal compared to what comes to the markets and shops of the Island.

Pork, new prices

However, where the state continues to exert significant market presence is the selling of live pigs and pork meat sales in state markets. From January to March this year government coffers for these showed a 110% increase in revenues.

In May, the government announced new prices for pork in the country.

Resolution 238/2015, issued by the Ministry of Finance and Prices approved the maximum selling price for live pigs at 12.24 CUP (around 0.60 USD) a pound, when the animal has a weight equal to or exceeding 80 kilograms.

If the pig weighs less than 80 kg, the price is set by agreement between the state pig breeders and the meat companies.

18 thoughts on “Cuba Milk and Egg Production Drops Again

  • Pardon me, but didn’t Communism pull the Chinese population (BIG NUMBER) out of dire poverty and into an economic and educational level that allowed the birth of the Free Market Economy under the Communist Party, and that launched China to be the premier economic and military power in the world today? The USA pays some of its workers high wages, but the numbers of the working poor and unemployables keeps on growing, and the real big money comes from all of the world’s “canefields” the USA exploits, and all the dope it buys and then sells to its own people. American Capitalism has brought us the Viet Nam War, the Invasion/Occupation of Iraq and the Invasion/Occupation of Afghanistan just to mention the most salient acts of international aggression to grab resources your country has attempted in the last 50 years…I bet my bottom dime you vote Republican!

  • Sorry Moses, it was free the last time I heard and discounted is much better than full-price; but soya milk and yogurt, while distasteful to you, me and many others, is still very nutritious and a good substitute for milk. As to the GNP being “specious” and the GAAP standards being “meaningless”, this is nothing but “Smoke and Mirrors” to discredit the accomplishments of the Cuban Government, dismissals that we are supposed to accept on your say so.
    The Blockade has a lot to do with most of Cuba’s problems but obviously not all; there is mismanagement and a too tightly regulated economy from production to market. This “Soviet Model” must change in order to better service the population. But instead of just criticizing like you, I would offer some suggestions on how a better model would include private production at a small and, later, medium level with free, local market access for food growers and manufacturers. This would include more support for the ongoing government sponsored program to develop urban and suburban veggie farming on a private (small) and a co-op (medium) basis. Everybody who can already has chickens in their urban yard in Cuba and that should be encouraged, as well as rural chicken farming on a private (small) and a co-op (medium) basis. Cuba needs more privately-owned, small business’ with less regulations, no doubt about that.

  • Cuba imports 70% of it’s food. hopefully the changes under way to let individual incentive be part of economy will help revive some of what was lost.

  • The Soviet Model of command economies don’t work very well. It is a pipe dream that bureaucrats can more efficiently manage production than individuals using their creativity and productivity of their own initiative. American corporations are world class efficient. It let’s them pay high wages by world standards. Yes, CEO’s at top corporations make a lot, all worth it.

    American capitalism has brought more people out of poverty than all the failed communist experiments put together. And it does not require that a people subject themselves to rulers that want to manage them as if they were an ant colony.

  • Have I ever raised cows and chickens? No, but so what? It is not, as Informed Consent writes, ‘rocket science’. Cuba’s purported GNP is specious at best. Given the double currency, GAAP standards are meaningless. Children and senior’s milk in Cuba is discounted but not free. (I love the strawberry-flavored soya milk replacement) The US embargo has NOTHING to do with the reality that less than half the number of head of cattle that exist in Cuba today when compared to the number in 1959. The lower number of live chickens is largely due to bad management. You can’t eat all the eggs! Avoid the time-worn habit of blaming all that ails Cuba on the embargo. Not only is it simply not true but it also stifles Cuban initiative to solve their own problems.

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