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Cuba imports 60% of rice consumption, the basic diet; main supplier Vietnam

Wednesday, July 20th 2011 - 11:17 UTC
Full article 2 comments
Cubans receive monthly allocations of rice with their ration cards Cubans receive monthly allocations of rice with their ration cards

Cuba is forced to import more than 400,000 tons of rice each year, 60% of the total amount of this dietary staple consumed on the island, according to official figures published Sunday by the daily Juventud Rebelde.

“The first challenge is to produce what we need. Although the planted areas have been increased in recent years, we still have a long way to go in making visible all the effort that is being expended,” said the director of the island’s grain research institute, Telce Gonzalez.

Cuba in 2011 will have to import almost double the rice it produces for consumption on the island, calculated at more than 600,000 tons.

Vietnam is Cuba’s main rice provider, according to government sources.

Cuba’s 11.2 million citizens each consume an average of 5 kilograms of uncooked rice monthly, or 60 kilograms per year.

Cuban citizens receive monthly allocations of rice on their government-issued ration cards which they can purchase at subsidized prices.

Juventud Rebelde emphasized that half the local demand for rice is met by purchases in foreign markets, and thus several of the country’s institutions have been mobilized to “consolidate” a program to increase its cultivation using some 50 varieties of the grain that can be grown in the island’s different ecosystems for maximum output.

In addition, the daily noted that Cuba for years has depended on the international market to meet its rice needs, particularly after the implosion of socialism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, when the island lost its major export and import markets for capital goods, consumables and services, a situation that resulted in the “significant and rapid” reduction in state production of rice and other items.

In 2009, the Cuban Agriculture Ministry’s Rice Program launched a plan aimed to replace 29% of rice imports in that year with local production and replace 56% by 2013.

Categories: Economy, Latin America.

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  • wesley mouch

    No one produces anything in Cuba because it will be stolen by the Castro brothers. It will not be long before Obama and the Democrats do the same in America. If you are not a connected bureaucrat all your property will be stolen.

    Jul 20th, 2011 - 02:04 pm 0
  • GeoffWard2

    I think Wesley might be a Republican.
    The Democrats of the USA are robustly right of centre compared to any socialist state in the New world. The fact that the Republicans are even more right wing does not make the Democrats left wing, socialist, communist, totalitarian or a dictatorship.
    You are indulging in a not-so-gentle SMEAR.

    The salient fact in the article is that Cuba is not producing enough home grown staples to feed its population. This is seen as a failure of their 'system'.
    Whilst this is a valid indictment, the same is also true for many other nations around the world operating under different systems.

    A totalitarian regime - Cuba - *can* produce a command economy more efficient than it presently has, but it is the belief of the Western world that free market economics can do it better.

    It will be interesting to see how many nations around the world switch to a Chinese model - perhaps Cuba will choose this route to survival. One thing is for sure, the present Cuban model is terminally shattered.

    Jul 21st, 2011 - 03:47 pm 0
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