Cuban Authorities Get Fruit for Tourism and Export, But it is Not Available for Island Residents

The Government allocates a good part of fruit production for the consumption of tourists and export. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 21 December 2022 — The Cuban Government allocates fruits considered “select” for export and for tourists who arrive on the Island, while in the markets where Cuban families buy, it is increasingly difficult and expensive to get the products grown in the fields of the Island.

The official press has dedicated extensive articles this week to explain how Cuba is preparing to deal with the high season of tourism, which this year has left results below the projections, and it also discusses the authorization of production lines for export, mainly to Europe.

In total, the authorities recognize that Cienfuegos province has 74 local development projects, but only 14 (19%) have potential for exports and tourism. Thus, María del Carmen Serra Lliraldi, director of the Chamber of Commerce in the region, explained that the main limitation is compliance with the production plan for sugar, chewing tobacco, charcoal, hot pepper, shrimp, catfish and aluminum scrap.

The company Frutas Selectas is, in any case, in charge of “balancing” the assortments for “all tourist markets” on the Island, Clemente Hernández Rojas, director of the state-owned company, told the newspaper Escambray, adding that the company meets 70% of the demand. “We are the most specialized, with refrigerator infrastructure and a mini-industry with better technologies that currently produces seven lines, while we have a connection for specific assortments such as lemons with a producer of Meneses,” he said.

Hernández Rojas said that the company, whose inventories depend on local production, has met the demands for tourism corresponding to three months, with agreements between producers to provide 320 tons of onion bulbs, of which 220 are provided by Frutas Selectas. The rest, he added without specifying a figure, will be marketed by the Empresa Agropecuaria Banao.

The official pointed out that, to respond to the “state order,” Frutas Selectas has expanded its freezing capacity by up to 40 tons in the Yayabo factory, and has also installed a room to store agricultural products.

This same company announced a year ago with great fanfare the export of lemons to Spain by a farmer, after the Government endorsed the trade of the private sector. On that occasion, this newspaper verified that the product did not, in fact, appear in the Spanish markets.

This Monday it was reported that the Empresa de Acopio in Cienfuegos dispatched 62 containers in 2022 to Spain and Turkey, valued at 9 million pesos, as highlighted at a meeting of the provincial Chamber of Commerce.

Cítricos Arimao has also exported more than 1,000 tons of aseptic mango pulp to European markets, said Isec Tellería Abreu, deputy director of the company, who announced that they are preparing new production lines for exports. One corresponds to dehydrated pineapple leaves to be marketed to Russia for the rest of this month.

One of the farms in the area assured Perlavisión this September that it had a demand of 200 kilos for this product for the Russian market. “They make shoes (vegan leather), car seat linings, belts … Damn, everything is made with the pineapple leaf and the banana,” said the producer.

In addition, turmeric, avocado, mango, red mamey and frozen cassava will be incorporated for export by 2023.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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