Excess Personnel in Cuba’s Agriculture

HAVANA TIMES, Nov. 10 – Twenty-six per cent of Cuban agriculture’s labor force is unproductive, a problem “that creates bureaucracy, increases costs, slows down productivity, creates disorder and prevents workers from improving their income,” reported IPS on Tuesday citing the island’s state-run press.

Cuba is currently embarked on a major effort to increase farm production and drop the import bill on food products, impossible to maintain at its current amount.

2 thoughts on “Excess Personnel in Cuba’s Agriculture

  • Cuba must become self-sufficient in agriculture. Production of food is the basis on which all other production takes place. As I understand it Cuban students are obligated to spend part of their school year working, e.g., in sugar cane fields, in citrus groves, or other forms of manual labor. I was wondering why this does not continue into professional life. If every Cuban of working age had to spend part of their professional life, say a month a year, working the land, growing crops, then surely Cuba would easily become self-sufficient in food. On top of the increase of production, such a policy would promote a sense of shared responsibility for the availability of food, and a healthy connection with the land. Indeed it would probably be spiritually uplifting, and a welcome break from the eveyday routine.

  • All the Cuban gov’t has to do, in order to transform agriculture and solve the “import food bill,” is to learn from the historical experience of tiny Denmark. In the latter 1800s Denmark had aristocratic agricultural estates and a gov’t that reflected this. The small farmers took over the gov’t and transformed the political system. The new gov’t forced the split up of most large estates and made Denmark a nation of small plot farming families.

    These new owners of small farms, with gov’t assistance, went on a “cooperation” binge. These farmers cooperated together to purchase economic inputs for their farms, and cooperated together to market their farm produce for better prices–domestically and abroad.

    In a few short years Denmark went from being a poor country with poor land and little sunshine, to a country with a highly productive agriculture. Their milk, cheese, eggs, pork, etc. became world famous. Denmark is now considered the “happiest place on earth.”

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