14ymedio, Havana, 12 October 2022 — The theft of cattle in Sancti Spíritus has multiplied 25 times this year compared to last year. The figures are official, made public during a meeting of the vice president of Cuba, Salvador Valdés Mesa, with the agricultural producers of that province. According to an article published in the state newspaper Granma, in September alone 292 of these crimes occurred in that territory. So far this year, 1,249 head of cattle were affected, compared to 48 in 2021.
All this, despite the new sanctions approved by the Government last August to try to avoid irregularities with the breeding and trade of livestock, which entail fines of up to 20,000 pesos.
Valdés Mesa assured that “intensive work has begun with the organs of the Ministry of the Interior,” “a regular livestock count has been established” and “surveillance and control guards have been intensified” to avoid these criminal acts.
The vice president didn’t miss an opportunity to blame the ranchers: “There’s a lot of indiscipline; you have to control and register the country’s vaccinated cows. And if the farmer doesn’t come to register, you have to go to his land to inspect. We have to put order in the field.”
However, it wasn’t the only problem that was on the agenda. In the face of the “cold” season, Sancti Spíritus faces other obstacles. For example, a deficit in planting. Compared to the planned 5,974 hectares, 5,550 hectares were planted. The “non-compliance,” the authorities said, “is caused by fuel constraints and rain.”
In the same meeting, they emphasized “the need to use organic fertilizers such as worm humus, since there won’t be any chemical products: neither fertilizers nor pesticides.”
Although the officials assured that agricultural companies in the province “don’t report non-payments to producers,” they recognize that the Dairy Company owes 1,453 producers a total of 329,453 pesos, and the Meat Company owes 91 producers a total of 43,048 pesos.
As for tobacco, it was spoken, in the usual communist tone, of “the importance of production in the territory given the considerable loss suffered at the largest tobacco centers in the province of Pinar del Río,” as a result of the scourge of Hurricane Ian, on September 27.
There were also words at the meeting for sugar production. The representative of Azcuba in Sancti Spíritus, Aselio Sánchez Cadalso, recalled that the Uruguay sugar mill, “the colossus of Jatibonico,” will no longer grind cane, but only the Agroindustrial Azucarera Melanio Hernández Company. The harvest begins on December 10, with 21,254 tons of sugar foreseen.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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