A Flood of Livestock ‘Incidents’ Alarms Artemisa’s Inspectors

The control of state lands and livestock began on March 1 throughout the Island / El Artemiseño

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 29 March 2024 — “Animals without a brand or ear tag, with an unreported change of category, off the farm without authorization and without documents” have been just some of the 9,300 violations found by the Cuban authorities during the investigation carried out this month on the lands and livestock in Artemisa province.

In February, the State banned the purchase and sale of animals to carry out an inventory of livestock and idle lands. According to the official press, farmers have attended livestock control registries en masse to register animals that died or that were raised illegally. However, the number of violations is still remarkable.

In Artemisa alone, during the inventory, about 2,600 liters of milk per day were redirected to the informal market, thereby “deflecting” them from the State channels, according to El Artemiseño.

The farmers have been redirecting some 2,600 liters of milk per day to the informal market, “deflecting” them from the official channels

Of the total incidents, only 2,777 – 29% – have been solved with “warnings,” “fines” and “even confiscation” of the cattle. The municipalities identified by the authorities as the worst are Bahía Honda (with 38% of the cases), Güira de Melena (37.5%) and San Cristóbal (25%).

As for the lands, the newspaper reported “more than 500 violations associated with poor use, problems with the production agreement, abandonment of the land without inheritance procedures and illegal occupation.”

The control of state lands and especially of livestock, which began on March 1 throughout the Island, has been a desperate measure by the Government to try to stop the fall in meat and milk production in recent years.

This Wednesday, the Council of Ministers published an Official Gazette in which they approved an increase in rates for the purchase of milk from both state and private producers. “The maximum collection price in Cuban pesos was approved, for fresh cow and buffalo milk of first quality, in the producer’s field or warehouse, at 38 Cuban pesos per liter, and will be effective in the purchase operations carried out from March 1,” summarized Periódico 26 on Friday.

The rate clarifies that the payment proceeds as long as compliance with the delivery plan is proven

The rate, however, clarifies that the payment proceeds as long as compliance with the delivery plan agreed between the producers and the local companies of Acopio* is proven, and leaves it to the industry to establish bonuses for overcompliance and fines for delays in deliveries.

Also, “the maximum prices paid by Acopio in Cuban pesos for cattle destined for industry or authorized slaughterhouses, were approved, and several rates were registered depending on age, sex and other characteristics,” the newspaper added.

Beyond the “tricks” of the farmers and the illegal theft and slaughter of livestock, the problem with milk and meat production on the Island is structural. The neglect of animals, which reproduce less and less and die more from hunger and malnutrition, has not been solved with an incentive to the farmers that, in addition, is almost four times less than what they can earn by selling a liter of milk in the informal market – about 150 pesos.

Last February, the regime requested for the first time help from the World Food Program (WFP) in the face of the country’s difficulties in distributing subsidized milk to children under seven years of age. Several articles published by the official press have also, although in an accusatory way, reported the complaints of the farmers, for whom raising livestock is no longer profitable.

*Translator’s note: Acopio is the State entity that collects and distributes all agricultural production.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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