In the international market every ton of rice costs Cuba 500 dollars. Due to this elevated cost, the country enabled some years ago a National Program that groups rice harvesters with the aim of substituting imports and contributing to the population´s food security.
In 2009, the results of the movement were encouraging, however, this year the intended deliveries have not been accomplished despite the fact of increasing the number of producers and the hectares devoted to the cultivation of this grain.
According to Idalelcio Rodríguez LLanes, Chief of the Rice National Group, all the provinces are failing in their delivery plans to the Ministry of Domestic Commerce, but the ones showing greater delays are Havana and Cienfuegos. “Between the two of them they sum 8 000 tons of the grain, an amount intended mainly for the basic comsumption package of the Cuban population. Due to this situation the country has had to use state reserves”- informed Rodríguez Llanes.
This southern territory is behind the plan in 40%. The question is… What happened to the rice production contracted to over 5000 farmers in Cienfuegos? “Some of this rice is already harvested but unfortunately it was taken somewhere else. Some other was delayed due to this year´s rains, specially in Aguada de Pasajeros municipality which is the main rice producer in the central- south part of Cuba”- explained Lázaro Ramos, director of the rice program in Cienfuegos.
Another question is wether the contracted resources were delivered on time to the producers (the resources…). this situation of subject of analysis in the province, which led to deep debates.
“I think we lacked seriousness while contracting producers and a continuous monitoring from the officials who are responsable for this activity”- pointed out the Chief of the Rice National Program.
Last year Cienfuegos surpassed the 6000 tons planned. We have experienced rice harvesters. For different reasons they are not currently in the national vanguard, however, they claim for trust to recover what they lost.