Tuesday, July 7, 2009

78,113 land grants

Agriculture is the one area of the economy that is undergoing significant change under the Raul Castro government, if for no other reason than that the state is busy unloading parcels of the 1.7 million hectares of idle land into the hands of private farmers and cooperatives. They are getting land grants of ten years for individuals, 25 years for cooperatives. I wrote a little about this here, and will have more shortly.

An article in Trabajadores now whines that the foreign media have engaged in negative reporting on this subject (but so has Granma) and to set the record straight, discloses that 41 percent of this idle land have been handed out to 78,113 applicants since last September.

Well, whatever it takes to get the information out.

This is good news that seems to answer the reasonable questions that were posed at the beginning of this process, such as whether significant numbers of Cubans would be interested, and whether they can gather the equipment and other means necessary to work the land. The answer apparently is that they’ve got it covered.

It will be interesting to see the impact on 2009 farm production. The recently released data on 2008 production – the year of three hurricanes – showed declines in most crops.

Reuters coverage here.


Anonymous said...

The Reuters article correctly points out the two non-bureaucratic bottlenecks: inputs, and distribution. To be truly succesful this experiment must deregulate both through the deregulation of retail commerce, and transportation.

Vecino de NF

leftside said...

Vecino, there have been "deregulations" on both the input and distribution sides. I beleive Phil has written about both. Basically inputs are available for direct purchase now and transportation no longer will be based on criteria that often meants trucks were bringing milk from one side of the island to another rather than keeping them nearby...

Anonymous said...

I am disturbed by Phil's distortion of Cuba's thriving agricultural sector. Anyone perusing the official press and television channels will IMMEDIATELY see that Cuba is a land of milk and honey, groaning beneath the luxurious burden of a veritable cornucopia of fruits and vegetables.

Of course, these inspiring accounts by the Revolutionary Press are occasionally marred by contrary reports issued by a CIA infiltrator, but these Party poopers are quickly dealt with by the appropriate Organ. As Lefty can confirm, it is in the U.S. that the people are starving. Right, Lefty?

Fantomas said...

Too little too late

Anonymous said...


Can one individual or a group of individuals buy direct from the farmer, transport it to the city or town, and sell it to customers? Also can an individual or a group of individuals sell equipment and supplies directly to the farmers? That's what I mean by deregulation of the transportation and retail activities, and unless I miss something all these activities are still illegal in Cuba. If these activities are possible, then the reforms have a chance of working otherwise there may be an increase of production without a corresponding increase in consumption.

Forcing the farmer to also be the transporter and seller of his produce creates inefficiencies. The state has proven to be as incapable in the timely transportation and selling of agricultural products as it was in agricultural production. Division of labor is something that has been understood since 1776 by economists. It is inconvenient for a totalitarian society.

Vecino de NF

leftside said...

Anon, you must not be reading the same Cuban press and blog postings here as I am. Both have been quite harsh on the sector.

And yes, the US certainly has a far more productive agricultural sector than Cuba. But we also have dying rural towns, destructive ecological practices and yes, tens of millions of Americans who go hungry, despite the bounty. Cuba priduces much less but assures that no one goes hungry, that its lands are cared for properly and that the rural heartland be taken care of.

Anonymous said...

"And yes, the US certainly has a far more productive agricultural sector than Cuba. But we also have dying rural towns, destructive ecological practices and yes, tens of millions of Americans who go hungry..."

Uh huh, this must be why so many Americans risk their lives trying to immigrate to Cuba. Not to mention the Latin American masses yearning to live in the First Free Territory of the Americas.