HAVANA, Dec. 2nd The government of Havana established price caps on a group of agricultural products and “flour derivatives” that are marketed in agricultural markets and private establishments in the Cuban capital.
Given the shortage of food and basic need products, as a result of the economic crisis the island is experiencing and which has caused a considerable hike in prices, the Havana authorities decided to expand the list of toped prices of food products to “protect our population,” reported the newspaper Tribuna de La Habana.
In October, this source had already published a list of other products with maximum prices set by the government, which included meat and sausages, as well as root vegetables, greens, fruits and grains.
The shortage of food in Cuba has worsened with the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic crisis, a context in which the government has opted for the opening of stores where you can only pay with cards associated with bank accounts in dollars. To this is added the impact of the U.S. embargo and the inefficiencies and internal obstacles that hinder the necessary productive take-off on the island.
On the other hand, many sellers appeal to higher prices in search of higher yields given the imminent implementation of a monetary reform announced by the Cuban government, which will include the elimination of the Cuban convertible peso (CUC), a new exchange rate for the dollar, increased wages and pensions, and presumably―and consequently―also inflation.
The new maximum sale prices of retail products are mandatory for self-employed workers (TCP), supply and demand markets and street peddlers, according to Tribuna.
Among the limits announced is that of a package of bread with 10 buns, which will cost a maximum of 25 pesos, while the maximum price of a pound of vegetables such as lettuce, chard, chives and string beans will be 10 pesos, according to the list published by the source.
In the previous list, other products appear such as pork leg and loin at 55 pesos per pound (65 if it is boneless), stuffed ham at 100, special chorizo at 150 and a pound of pork chops at 70.
The price cap is a frequent practice by the Cuban authorities, as a method to prevent prices skyrocketing in emergency situations and shortages, although these caps are not always followed to the letter by the sellers and usually motivate a displacement of toped products into the informal market.