14ymedio, Havana, 25 October 2022 — Bread didn’t reach the tables of Cuban families in several municipalities in the provinces of Guantánamo and Holguín last week. The lack of flour and fuel prevented companies from accomplishing the production needed to guarantee supplies.
In Guantánamo, the director of the Food Industry, Albis Hernández Díaz, recognized that they ended the week with 60,000 units less than what was needed, which mainly affected families in the municipalities of Guantánamo, Baracoa and El Salvador.
Hernández Díaz told the Venceremos newspaper that delays have worsened in the last two weeks due, mainly, to the fact that they don’t have enough fuel in the generators of the service centers, whose machines require large amounts of fuel, up to 10 pounds per hour.
The director said that she has had to restart the wood ovens for manual breadmaking for a smaller number of customers. The blackouts, programmed by the Cuban Government, also “conspire against us,” says Hernández Díaz, because the bread acquires an acidic flavor or doesn’t rise if they delay putting the resting dough in the oven.
Faced with the shortage of ingredients, Hernández Díaz said that they prioritize the flour available on the market with less fine grains loaded with wheat husks. They also use yeast with low fermentation, so the flavor and color of the bread is different, and this also slows down the production process.
The Provincial Government of Holguín had already warned last Friday through a post on its Facebook page that the lack of fuel and flour was preventing the standardized bread quota from being covered. The municipalities most affected by the shortage of the product were Gibara, Holguín, Calixto García and Sagua de Tánamo.
The shortages and high prices of bread have hit the bakeries and the pockets of Cuban families hard. Meanwhile, the Government recognizes that it can’t make more food derived from flour because what’s available is used only for the basic rationed bread, social consumption and the production of five tons of crackers for communities in remote areas of Guantánamo.
In the midst of the wheat flour deficit, state bakeries have resorted to other types of flour, such as in the province of Sancti Spíritus, where up to 20% of rice husks or yucca is mixed in.
But these mixtures don’t manage to convince customers because of the sour flavor of the bread. “Can you tell me what is this flour? Because this bread is disgusting, they haven’t brought it for three days and when it arrives (…) There is no one to eat it, they are killing people’s stomachs,” replied user Tamara González Serrano in the publication of the Provincial Government of Holguín.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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