Since the invasion of Ukraine, Cuba pays three times more for a ship with grain

Desde la invasión de Ucrania por Rusia, Cuba paga tres veces más por un barco de cereal

HAVANA, Dec. 7  The directors of the Sancti Spíritus Food Industry Company regretted this Wednesday that what they call “the war between Russia and Ukraine” will skyrocket the price of wheat that Cuba imports. Each ship of grain costs the country 13 million pesos, they explained, triple what it used to pay before the invasion decreed by Vladimir Putin. In the province, the solution to save raw materials has been drastic: reduce the size of the bread.

Before the war, COVID-19 had already increased the price of cereals, causing a season of scarcity on the tables from which the people of Sancti Spiritus have not been able to recover.

A shipload of wheat, which the country buys and processes in its mills because it is cheaper than importing flour, is enough to satisfy 12 days of national production. In the case of Sancti Spíritus, 28.4 tons of flour are needed daily to produce standardized bread, but only 24 are being received.

What the leaders themselves call “balls” of standardized bread has had to be reduced. The nearly 100 grams that each unit of food weighed now remains at 60. The good news, if there is any, is that the price has also dropped: it costs 25 cents less, explained the director of the Food Industry in the province, Victor Diaz Acosta.

Díaz Acosta also regretted that, given that he subsidizes almost 50% of the production cost of standardized bread – about 1.40 pesos – his company registers a loss of between three and four million pesos each month, partly offset by profits. of the “free sale”.

In the case of Sancti Spíritus, 28.4 tons of flour are needed daily to produce standardized bread, but only 24 are being received. (Escambray)

The leader admitted, during an interview with the Escambray newspaper, that he is no stranger to the second problem with bread, in addition to the shortage of wheat: its quality.

The bread production debacle is so alarming in Cuba that the official press itself has analyzed on several occasions the possible ways to resolve it, without ever finding a satisfactory method.

This is influenced by everything from the work of the baker, and the technical state of the equipment to the quality of the raw materials and the blackouts that, by interrupting the baking process, which is basically done with electricity, affect the product, he listed.

However, the provincial section of the Food Industry in Sancti Spíritus has no losses, Díaz Acosta celebrated. He is saved by his alliance with the “new economic actors” (the private sector), which allows him to produce other products: a loaf of bread that is sold in state establishments for 75 pesos, as well as doughs for pizzas and palitroques.

In this way, the leader explained, Sancti Spíritus saves the country 39 million pesos. It is the only entity of its type in the country that can boast of a contribution of that caliber, despite the US blockade and the thousand and one shortages that threaten the “socialist state enterprise,” Díaz Acosta stressed.

The official also recognizes that, while state production hangs by a thread, private companies continue to offer bread to their clients, against all odds. Of course, at prohibitive prices for most of the people of Sancti Spiritus. This situation does not torment Díaz Acosta, who, pragmatically, affirms that “it is better to have the offer than not to exist.”

The bread production debacle is so alarming in Cuba that the official press itself has analyzed on several occasions the possible ways to resolve it, without ever finding a satisfactory method.

Each new item becomes obsolete within a few weeks, as inflation soon raises the price bar a little higher. So much so that many Cubans are no longer up to par with what, like eggs or meat, threatens to become a luxury item.

Meanwhile, the people of Sancti Spiritus have become accustomed to the “original” solutions of the food industry company, which at the end of last year – amid the wheat crisis – had allowed bakeries to use up to 20% of wheat waste. husking rice to make bread.

The bread at the end of the year will not be, as then, hard and sour, but it will not serve to kill hunger either.

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