Cuba said this week it was doubling the amount of land it granted would-be farmers and the lengths of their leases in an effort to increase stagnating agricultural output. The state owns 80% of the land and leases most of that to farmers and cooperatives. The remainder is owned by some 400,000 private family farmers and their cooperatives.
The Cuban government Friday allowed farmers to hire workers directly and no longer have to go to cooperatives in a step to set aside strict controls on their economy to boost production for a country which imports more than two-thirds of its food. In other areas of the economy, such as restaurants, Cuba has already allowed small business owners to hire their staff directly.