14ymedio, Havana, 23 October 2022 — In Ciego de Ávila there is one meat company that is functioning and will end the year with profits. In the ten months of this year, the Turiguanó Meat Company made 1,330,000 pesos in profits and sales reached 614,000 in freely convertible currency, a feat in the current context.
However, its success does not come close to the Cuban table; its meat has ended up for tourism and it is expected that, from now on, it will suffice to keep the hotels in the Jardines del Rey area fully stocked, completely replacing imports.
The company, founded in 1976 and located in Morón, has been an example for authorities in the area for several years. Just before the pandemic, in 2019, the state press dedicated a lot of attention to it. Miguel Díaz-Canel, shortly after being named president of the Republic, took a special interest in this plant. That year, around this time, the organization broke the historic record for total monthly sales, with 4,720,000 pesos, and a total of 42 million pesos for the year to date.
Its success was based on producing meat products from 132 cuts in their plant, 55 traditional, 62 special, 10 viscera, and five artistic. Sales to all the hotels allowed “the country to save four million dollars per year,” stated the Invasor daily newspaper at the time, imbued in the national logic that, everything is purchased outside the home and, as a result, whatever is produced domestically is “savings.”
Foreign investors have their eyes on Turiguanó Genetic, which this month signed a “letter of business intent” with German P.u.U, the details of which have not been announced, except that it has to do with pork and beef exports. Last year, it happens that they were negotiating with Treew Inc., a Canadien company established 15 years ago in Cuba and dedicated to international trade.
However, in the middle of the storm, even an apparently solid company is at risk. According to an article published on Saturday in the provincial press, Yoan Sarduy Alonzo, the president of the Ranchers’ Business Group (Gegan) visited the Turiguanó Genetic facilities during his trip to Ciego de Ávila and, at that moment, a power outage “once again put in check the industry where five freezers and two maintenance refrigerators preserve the meat.” Furthermore the company lacks a power generator.
The visitors pressed the company to directly import and do away with intermediaries, because they run the risk of losing profit. For example, according to the note, if the belts were functioning, 40 cattle would be slaughtered daily instead of 20.
In any case, the accounting could be less simple. The newspaper warned that the 4,200 heads of cattle owned by the company “are not guaranteed their feed for the year,” since the drought has wilted the pastures and, although they were able to fertilize the fields, there isn’t machinery to harvest the hay.
The number of animals has declined since 2019, despite predictions to the contrary. That report three years ago mentioned 5,300 Santa Gertrudis breed cattle, in which this company specializes, and predicted that the population would gradually reach up to 11,000 by 2030. To date, it has declined by 1,100.
In 2020, the zone where Turiguanó Genetic is located spent 74 days in quarantine due to COVID-19, although they met 98% of their target. Nonetheless, in 2021 the company also began working on diversifying and exporting charcoal.
Ranching authorities, in light of what they observed during their visit last weekend, urged “a transformation of reality, because protein must reach the table,” although the table, right now, does not belong to Cubans.
Translated by: Silvia Suárez
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