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Better Prices & Less Red Tape Boost Beef Production

19 August 2010

CUBA - Government measures to boost the production of beef, which included a substantial increase in purchasing prices from private farmers, have translated in a steady growth in the first six months of 2010.

The latest report from the National Office of Statistics (ONE) showed a steep increase in the amount of cattle cooperatives sold to the government, jumping almost 50 per cent, representing 3,842 tons of beef, reports The Cuba News Agency.

This didn’t affect milk production which also grew to over 215 million litters in this period, with the government sector’s output standing for 15 per cent. Despite last year´s drought and the lack of cattle feed due to the reduction of imports, a four percent growth was achieved.

Cooperative Manager Leticia Mendez, from Havana city, explained that the prices have been increased twice in the last couple of years to close to 10 pesos for a kilogram of first quality beef that is paid directly to the farmer, and another 10 per cent is paid to the cooperative common account.

“Better prices did help our associates to start putting more efforts into fattening their cattle” Mr Mendez said. “Previously the relation cost-profits were not attractive for them.”

Also, the gap between the moment you decid to sell cattle to the moment you received your payment, was annoying for many.

“Before, whenever a rancher wanted to sell a cow, we had to contact the cattle raising company nearby, and then they would make an agreement with the slaughterhouse. The process took time, and on top of that there was a service fee for that company,” she said.

In order to speed up that process the government allowed cooperatives to deal directly with slaughterhouses.

“I told the associates that they should let me know in advance when they wanted to send some cattle to the slaughterhouse, in order for me to arrange transportation,” she explained and added “when some of them placed their order, we hired a truck and took some 30 cows and oxen over there.”



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