A State Company Blames Cuban Farmers for Their ‘Inferior’ Production in Camaguey

Only 0.03% of the tomato requested arrived. (Camagüey Citizen’s Portal)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 8 February 2024 — With a deficit of 784 tons compared to 2022, and barely 55% of productivity achieved, the performance of the Canned Food and Vegetable Company of Camagüey in 2023 was described as “inferior” by the industry managers themselves. A devastating article published this Wednesday in the official newspaper Adelante points to a clear culprit: the producers hired by the company, who did not meet the targets for last year’s deliveries.

The lack of “quality” in the hiring process, the “lack of discipline” and the scarce “training” of the staff have left the company’s productions at rock bottom. With the arrival of tomatoes, papayas, mangos, peppers, onions, cabbages, cucumbers, corn and guava, only the latter fulfilled the plan, with 102% of the delivery, according to the newspaper.

Due to non-compliance by the farmers, only 29% of the raw material was received – initially calculated at 4,453 tons – with a particular deficit of ripe tomato, “of which barely 0.03% reached the industry,” or 2,447 tons less than agreed.

Other indicators, such as the delivery of 75% of mangos and 59% of peppers, were not as abysmal as that of fruit

Other indicators, such as the delivery of 75% of mangos and 59% of peppers, were not as abysmal as that of fruit, but they did not meet the industry’s expectations. “In a simple summary, seven of the eleven items contracted contributed absolutely nothing to the two factories: El Mambí, and the other one in Camalote,” says Adelante.

The production aimed at tourism also collapsed, coming in at 280 tons below what was agreed. With those “extremely low” numbers, the company resorted to a modification of the prices of its products, although the authorities did not clarify whether it was an increase or a decrease.

Inexplicably, the media says that the sale to the population, without precise numbers and despite the obvious failures of production, had “positive results.”

With all the variables against it, this year the company proposed to reach 1,535 tons in processed products, a contribution greater than that obtained in 2023. The director, Dalia Fuentes Navarro, explained that they are already working on controlling the deficient contracting process that has been the cause of the factory’s poor performance in recent months.

Fuentes Navarro even predicts that the tomato ’campaign’ in 2024 will be better than estimated, since special care has been taken to hire producers who will honor the contract, and this will also benefit the manufacturing of sauces for pizza, seasonings, juices and ketchup.

“It is clear that in the current period they must face a reorganization of the workforce, improve payment systems, especially in bottle washing, and increase the training of their staff, especially the foremen,” adds Adelante, with less optimism than the director.

Blaming the “informality” of producers for the collapse in state industries has become a common claim in the official press

Blaming the “informality” of producers for the collapse in state industries has become a common statement in the official press, which, although recognizing the poor conditions of contracts with the State, insists that there is no justification for non-compliance.

Something similar happened this January in Sancti Spíritus, when the local newspaper, Escambray, complained that dairy farmers sell their milk for 150 pesos on the informal market before selling it to the State – usually a bad payer – for a few pesos.

Other producers have not stayed on the sidelines either. This Monday, a farmer from Sancti Spíritus, in a video shared on social networks, complained about about how unprofitable it is to negotiate with the regime. With milk at 20 pesos – the official payment – “I have to sell 4.5 gallons to make a dollar,” he said, while stating that in no country in the world is milk bought at such a “humiliating” price.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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