HAVANA, Oct. 17 Cuban Government authorities announced that, after several days of interruption in the delivery of quota bread due to problems in the supply of wheat flour,the product will return to the counters. They said that Havana and Cienfuegos will be able to restart industrial mill operations after the arrival in Cuba of a wheat ship through the Havana port, from Europe, with some 23,500 tons of the product that, they say, will guarantee the production of about 16,000 tons of flour, the official newspaper Granma published.
The shipment should stabilize the production of bread for the family basket in all provinces for the next 20 days, said the president of the Food Industry Business Group, Emerio González Lorenzo, on official television.
In her account on the social network, González Lorenzo said that the last shipment of wheat arrived at the end of July. That same month the mills stopped.
“This has led us to look for alternatives and buy imported flour to ensure bread for the basic basket and some very limited social consumption that is prioritized,” she added.
The fuel and transportation crisis has affected bread deliveries. The official said that the next arrival of raw materials is expected for the first half of November and that this should ensure “the continuity of production” and avoid the effects faced by each territory, especially the eastern provinces.
For her part, the director of the Provincial Food Industry Company (EPIA) in Cienfuegos, Magalys Torres Abreu, corroborated in statements reported by the newspaper 5 de Septiembre the difficulties in the production of standardized bread in recent days in the territory, which he attributed to a lack of flour.
Torres Abreu told the local media that the raw material is already available in the Cienfuegos mill to process it and that, once the flour is ready, it will be taken to the bakeries to restart the production and sale of bread.
She pointed out that the 200-gram bread that is currently being sold at 60 pesos does not replace the “quota bread” and that it is a temporary offer made with wheat flour “that the Government managed in MSMEs” due to the shortage.
The official acknowledged that this free sale is a variant that is not “available to the entire population” and that arises “in the situation of having three days without bread” of the consumer quota. The lack of standardized bread in the bakeries of Cienfuegos is not an isolated case, it is a situation that has been repeated in other provinces of the Island for months.
In September, for example, the authorities of Sancti Spíritus decided to reduce the weight of the bread sold through the ration book in seven municipalities from the usual 80 grams to 60.
A similar measure was taken at the beginning of the month in neighboring Ciego de Ávila. In recent years, authorities have begun to add “extenders” to the flour of daily bread; that is, mixtures of cassava flour, corn and other inventions that most consumers repudiate.
Bread has been scarce for years in Cuba, with periods of normality and crisis. The production of daily bread depends on the arrival of ships from abroad or donations since the Government is unable to produce wheat and has to import it.
However, in many of the online stores that sell products in dollars to emigrants, who turn to them to help their families in Cuba, bread is abundant, as are sweets and cookies, among other flour products. These, of course, are of much higher quality than the questionable food that reaches Cubans through the ration book.