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CUBA PROMOTES AGRICULTURE FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

CUBA PROMOTES AGRICULTURE FOR NATIONAL SECURITY

HAVANA, Dec 1 (NNN-AGENCIES) – Cuban agricultural workers are allowed to
sell their products directly to tourism companies beginning today as
part of the reforms promoted by President Raul Castro to boost
agriculture and ensure national security.

The purpose of the initiative is to "simplify links between primary
producers and consumers and save transport costs," according to the
official daily Granma, a newspaper of the ruling Cuban Communist Party
(CCP).

The permission for farmers to offer their products directly to tourist
facilities is part of the economic adjustments undertaken by the
president since 2008 and approved at the Sixth Congress of CCP in April.

The programme includes several measures related to agriculture that are
aimed at increasing domestic production and reducing imports.

The country imports each year 80 percent of food it consumes.

Since taking office in 2006, Raul Castro has described the country's
food production as a "strategic issue of national security."

He has made efforts to reform the economy of Cuba, which was hit by the
collapse of the Soviet Union, its former main market, in the 1990s.

One of the first steps of the president was to distribute the idle land
to new farmers.

Official statistics showed that until last Sept, the government had
delivered 1.3 million hectares of idle land, 79.2 percent of which has
been put into use by about 146,000 new private producers.

Last week, the Cuban National Statistic Office reported an increase of
7.2 percent of the country's agricultural production during the first
nine months of this year.

The figures also showed the output increase of private farmers by 15
percent in a year.

The president also tried to stimulate agricultural production by
granting loans to farmers who needed them.

According to Vice President of the Cuban Central Bank Irma Martinez, the
national bank system is ready to enlarge the possibilities of credits to
individuals. — NNN-AGENCIES

http://www.namnewsnetwork.org/v2/read.php?id=177895 Tags: agriculture, economy, food, president, Raul Castro, tourism, tourist, transport

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