In addition to making more than 80,000 land grants and raising prices paid to producers (detailed here, pdf), the Raul Castro government is doing some reorganizing in agriculture.
Since the beginning of 2008, it has dissolved 215 state farm cooperatives (known as Unidades Basicas de Produccion Cooperativa, or UBPC). Of these, 76 were merged into others and the remaining 139 closed entirely. This leaves 1,463 UBPC’s, one fourth of which (402) are not profitable.
These figures come in a Granma article that examines the struggles of these cooperatives, which were created in 1993 when large state farms were broken up after Soviet aid ended. UBPC’s have been problematic since their beginning – unlike other cooperatives made of small farmers or the state farms that didn’t change their organizational structure, the UBPC’s were made up of parts of state farms with parts of their workforces, left to fend for themselves.
The Granma article cites some of their chronic problems and says the way for them to succeed now is through diversification of output. The message would seem to be that more could be dissolved if they don’t start operating in the black.