Against a backdrop of farm output that is lower than last year’s, and with newly distributed farmlands not yet being used to their potential,
ANAP’s members are individual farmers and members of two kinds of cooperatives; according to the economy minister, they have 41 percent of
The recommendations are in an ANAP document summarizing the conference’s treatment of issues affecting farm production. In addition to calling for “resolving the problem of credits” for new landholders, it calls for several changes in the distribution system that have the common thread of asking the government to get out of the way.
About 30 percent of these producers’ output goes to farmers markets, where prices move according to supply and demand. The rest is contracted by the state, and ANAP is calling for several changes: expanding direct sales to consumer outlets, as is already occurring in the case of milk; allowing cooperatives to contract directly with state enterprises; and allowing cooperatives to sell directly to hotels and restaurants in the tourism sector.
All these measures would reduce if not end the role of the acopio, the agriculture ministry’s enterprises that collect, transport, and distribute food. Which may be why things are moving slowly.
Sales to the tourism sector is a non-issue as far as the Cuban public is concerned, but it’s a good indicator of the dead weight of bureaucracy and regulation on Cuban agriculture. Amazingly,
The fact that ideas such as these appear in an ANAP document are no guarantee that they will be adopted. But I would bet that things will continue moving in the direction of decentralized sales and distribution. ANAP is a “mass organization,” part of the Revolution; these ideas are coming from inside the tent.
Sources cited above: Cuban Colada summarizing the official statistics showing drops in selected areas of production, and the economy minister’s speech indicating that of the 920,000 hectares of farmland recently distributed, half remain unused or under-used.