HAVANA, March 5th The United Nations Organization (UN), through the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD),
will donate more than 18 million dollars to Cuba for the production of coffee and cocoa in cooperatives on the island.
The initiative will have an initial investment of 42.5 million dollars, of which the Cuban authorities must provide at least 23.6 million.
According to official communication from the international organization, the Agroforestry Cooperative Development Project (Prodecafé) will benefit 300 agroforestry cooperatives and 17,500 families affected by the ongoing food crisis in the country.
Juan Diego Ruiz, FIDA’s director for Cuba, said that investing in this way is the “most efficient way to address the problems of low productivity, lack of equipment, lack of economic opportunities, vulnerability to climate change and extreme weather events, migration of rural youth to cities, gender inequality and shortage of nutritious food”.
The Cuban Ministry of Agriculture must implement the production plan, through the Agroforestry Business Group. Ruiz added that the total investment should then rise to more than 65 million dollars with the participation of other international donors.
The project will be implemented in the provinces of Granma, Guantánamo, Holguín and Santiago de Cuba and should benefit mainly some 68,250 people, including members of cooperatives, day labourers and experts in technical assistance. The interest of the international organization is also to support the youth and women of these communities.
One of the aims of the initiative is to improve technical assistance services and contribute to the repair and new construction of access roads to the mountainous areas, where 11,600 families (45,240 people) belong to another 290 cooperatives reside.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development of the UN-recognized the food insecurity that affects Cuba, which imports up to 80% of the food consumed by the population, with spending that exceeds 2,000 million dollars annually, according to official data.
These imports are extremely vulnerable as they depend on external elements such as pandemics, financial crises, climatic phenomena, rising product prices and their transportation.
The institution resumed its operations in Cuda in 2013 and to date has invested more than 170 million dollars, which must have contributed to improving the living conditions of 40,000 rural families. However, the inhabitants of the Cuban countryside are one of the most affected by the situation of famine that prevails on the island.
Coffee is one of the most scarce products in the Caribbean nation, to the point that in recent days a news hoax circulated on social networks about the country’s government’s intention to mix the grain with palm kernels to stretch the yield of the harvest. .
However, Osmel de la Cruz Cala, director of the Asdrúbal López Coffee Processing Company in Guantánamo, clarified the facts and pointed out that the product is only combined with peas or beans, but never with palm kernels, due to the high-fat content of this seed.
In the last week of January, it emerged that Cuba was unable to produce the 24 thousand tons of coffee that is demanded each year for the island’s internal consumption, a situation that, far from being corrected, worsens with the passing of days and the decisions made. by the government.