HAVANA TIMES — The El Trigal wholesale market for farm products, located in the outlying Havana municipality of Boyeros, will be closed as of Friday due to “irregularities”, announced government authorities.
In a report by the National Television News, Luis Carlos Gongora Dominguez, Vice President of the Havana provincial government, informed of the decision to temporarily halt marketing of agricultural products and dissolve the cooperative that managed the market due to “a series of irregularities.”
The move shuts down an important supply source to the population of the capital, particularly the retail markets, other sales outlets and self-employed street vendors, the main buyers at El Trigal.
In addition, its closure marks the failure of an initiative that bore fruit for three years in the provinces of Havana, Artemisa and Mayabeque as “a new form of marketing farm products.” El Trigal was the first wholesale market of such products in the country.
List of illegalities
The official attributed the decision to crimes of corruption and other illegalities that have occurred, and the inability to ensure that the products reach the population at lower prices.
El Trigal opened on December 18, 2013 as a wholesale market geared to lower food prices and deal a blow to private intermediaries. However it quickly became a place of illicit activities and the corrupting of their staff.
Gongora did not mention whether the market operators will be subject to administrative measures or will be prosecuted in the courts.
The closure of El Trigal is part of a government crackdown on the marketing of agricultural products at high prices and the detour of the foodstuffs to the black market, outside state control. Government actions in this direction started last year and were echoed in the recently concluded Seventh Congress of the Communist Party, which led to the setting of price ceilings on farm products at local markets.