As reported by Granma, the official communist newspaper in Cuba, farmers there can now sell their goods directly to tourist hotels and restaurants from 1 December 2011 for the first time in decades and they don’t need to go through government middlemen anymore in order to sell their agricultural products.
They will also be allowed to take their products to market themselves. The farm reform follows recent moves of liberalization in Cuba, as recently, Cuba even allowed private ownership of house and car sales which was earlier banned in the communist state. The government stated that the new rules were actually meant for cutting down transportation costs and for speeding up food delivery to the tourism industry.
According to Granma, this reform is actually meant for farmers in order to develop mechanisms to supply tourist entities and take better advantage of the potential of all forms of local means of production as tourists often complain about the poor quality food available in Cuba though tourism is a key source of revenue for the country. The government is hoping the reform will help provide fresher and more varied products, boosting Cuba’s attractiveness.
Under the current rules, a state-run body has a monopoly on the sale and distribution of agricultural products. Prices and production volume are set at the start of every harvesting season. Critics of Socialism often complain that the state-run system has led to high volumes of food rotting before it could be distributed.
The reform is part of a larger overhaul of Cuba’s Soviet-style economy, which has already led to changes allowing Cubans to set up their own small businesses and buy and sell cars and homes order to compete successfully with the world economy.
Report by Indrani Chowdury