Thursday, May 13, 2010

ANAP has some suggestions to make

In advance of the annual conference of Cuba’s small farmers association (ANAP), Granma has published several articles saying the conference will feature proposals for policy changes that will lead to increased farm production. See Tuesday article here and Wednesday’s here (with English version here). There’s another article today about a train carrying delegates from eastern Cuba; quite a bit of hoopla for a meeting of this type.

The conference begins tomorrow.

The ANAP president, Orlando Lugo, says that among the proposals, there will be some “to eliminate obstacles in the comercialización” of farm products, using a word that Cubans use to refer to sales, transportation, and distribution. He also says some changes will take time – naturally – because they “require changes in the structure and size of the enterprise system, creating new entities and dissolving others.”

This is clear as mud; hopefully Granma will cover the actual proposals at equal length.

For now, I’ll speculate a little. I wonder if by the “enterprise system” he is referring to the acopio, the bureaucratic behemoth that collects, transports, and distributes produce to consumers through the monthly ration system and to institutions such as hospitals and schools. The writing has been on the wall for acopio or some time. First, through the idea broached by Raul Castro and others of ending universal monthly food rations. Second, through new direct distribution schemes that bypass acopio altogether. And third, through stories that have shown that the government could not handle distribution of increased farm production, and produce rotted awaiting pick-up.

We’ll see what is actually proposed at a conference that, according to the Granma stories, promises to address all the concerns raised at the local level by individual farmers, and to present success stories and best practices that can be applied across Cuba.

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