Cuban growers still struggle, despite government reforms

Cuban growers often find it impossible to obtain fuel or seeds to plant, or even to rent tractors from the state. At the same time, Cubans in the cities are struggling with shortages of food and soaring prices.

To address this, Cuba’s socialist government last year approved a package of 63 reforms meant to make it easier and more profitable for producers to get food to consumers — measures such as allowing farmers greater freedom to choose their crops and letting them sell more freely, at higher prices. But none of those efforts has yet been able to solve the island’s chronic agricultural woes.

Growers claim government measures are still not sufficient to overcome obstacles. While government prices for some supplies such as local herbicides, fertilizers, wire and tools were cut, many inputs remain hard to get. The state is trying to overcome a lack of resources needed to import them.

The shortage of fruits in a tropical nation and of pork that is basic to the Cuban diet has become even more dire due to hardships caused by a pandemic that choked off the revenue-producing tourism industry and by economic sanctions from the US.


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