Cuban Agriculture Sector Shows Little Improvement

Sep 01, 2012 05:28 PM EDT | By Sharon Robinson

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Coffee berries in Cuba are ready to be picked. (Photo : Pavelka)

Despite the efforts of the government to help farmers increase farm output, the country is producing less than what it did in 2007, reports Reuters.

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The country is becoming increasingly reliant on food imports. Over 70 percent of its food is imported, reports Reuters. Raul Castro, who became the President after his brother Fidel Castro stepped down, has been trying to improve the farm sector of Cuba. He has introduced several policies in the hopes of decreasing imports of food.

The agriculture sector in Cuba employs around a fifth of the Cuban population, but its inefficiency has led to the increased imports.

According to Reuters, Castro has reduced the influence of state bureaucracy on farms, poured millions of dollars in increasing production of major food crops and has allowed farmers to deal directly with the consumers.

As a result, some agricultural produce have shown increase in production. Rice production stands at 566,400 tonnes and beans at 133,000, Reuters adds.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Isaac has prompted the harvesting of rice and coffee in several regions of Cuba. According to Cuba News, Isaac prompted the quick ripening of coffee berries, forcing coffee growers to pick them and store them safely, away from the rain. A Cuba Headlines report added that though the torrential rains fastened the process of maturation of the coffee berries, the coffee plantations have otherwise been left unharmed.

Separately, Cuba and Brazil have signed an agreement, which will see Brazil crediting $200 million to the country for its food programs, reports Global Times. The agreement is aimed at improving trade ties between the two countries, the report adds.

Thanks to this agreement, Cuba will be seeing better farming machinery from Brazil, the report says.



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