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.