Government Raises Payments to Cuban Dairy Farmers to Attempt to Increase Production

The price increases announced this Monday do not change the picture much as agricultural production continues to falter. (Granma)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 2 November 2021 — Fresh cow’s milk has a new price in Cuba after dozens of farmers complained about the low cost and denounced the incompetence in the collection of the product in various parts of the country. As reported by the Ministries of Food Industry and Agriculture, from this Monday it will have a maximum value for the industry of 20 pesos per liter and depending on its quality it will drop to 5 pesos.

When the density of the milk exceeds 1,030 grams per milliliter (g/ml) and has a cross in the mastitis (it is free of bacteria, mycoplasmas, fungi) it will cost 20 pesos, and 17 pesos if the density is equal to or greater than 1,029 g/ml and continue to indicate a mastitis cross. When the standards are below the previous indicators, the price per liter will drop to 5 pesos.

The price increases announced this Monday do not change the panorama much when agricultural production continues to stumble almost seven months after 63 measures were approved in the sector. The measures were presented by the Government as the solution to stimulate the farmer to deliver more products and improve his income. The prices approved then, and that were in force until October 31, had a ceiling of 9 pesos per liter.

However, the biggest complaints came from the defaults of the State and the deficiencies in the stockpile. Milk quality tests “are still not done individually” and one learns the parameters of the product “at the time of receiving the invoice with the payments,” farmer Ermes Rodríguez complained at the beginning of last month in Periódico 26.

Rodríguez spoke on behalf of the 40 dairy farmers who belong to the Niceto Pérez de Las Tunas credit and services cooperative. “The disconnect is with the Dairy Industry. Notice that when they paid the first month at 9.00 pesos [a liter], all the farmers said ’let’s go there’, because they were motivated. In that month we got 19,000 liters of milk, but the next they created a catastrophe and they paid for it as they understood and then came the collective disappointment,” explained the producer.

“It cannot be possible for the milk collected by several producers in the same jug to arrive at different prices,” warned Rodríguez, stating that some farmers have been paid five pesos per liter, others four and some received up to 7 pesos and, “That is inconceivable, because they come out of the same cold thermos.”

The new ministerial provision establishes that when there is an over-compliance with the milk plan, it will be paid at prices agreed between the State and the farmer, after signing a contract, and if the delivery is not fulfilled, the producer will have to “compensate the industry with a value of 10 pesos for each liter.” If it is the dairy company that does not comply with the collection of the product at the agreed places and times, it will have to remedy the farmers’ losses.

At the end of last month, dozens of producers had not received the payment that the state promised them in freely convertible currency (MLC) for each liter of milk they delivered above their monthly plan. The authorities alleged bank bureaucratic problems, while the dairy farmers watch with indignation how the main stimulus they had to increase their yields disappears, at a time when milk production is going through a deep crisis.


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