Ideas on Limits of fruits and vegetables. And a solution?

If you´ve spent any time in Cuba and, I don´t mean on vacation, then you will know what I am about to make public here.

Basically, Cuba is rife with food stuffs, fruits, vegetables etc, etc. For god’s sake they grow wild in most places. I recall a time in 2004 when we drove out to Pinar Del Rio for the day and, within literally 1 hour, we had the trunk of our car stacked full of vegetables, fruit, two sacks of land crabs and a healthy goat… All these “would be” farmers we came across while just driving around grew for themselves; friends and, I swear, we could have filled trucks full of their produce in a few hours. After years of condemnation, fines and red tape to sell their produce farmers in general are confused and have taken the attitude that it’s just too much hassle “so I’ll grow what I need and that’s it” and what is left I´ll sell here to friends and locals. The rest, unfortunately, sits and rots for fertilizer. There is no concerted effort to do what I did, like drive around, find who has what, send a government truck, pay there and then, transport to markets….

Outside of Cuba where most have cars, trucks and easy access to transport we don´t contemplate that it could be the difference between rotting food in someone’s back yard and the absence of any transport to get it to where it can be sold to help others, as a conceivable motive for supply failure. Alas, in Cuba it is. Also, even if some enterprising Cuban used this concept they´d need to have a truck, money to prepay the goods, fuel and access to the markets “allowed” to sell. You can count on one hand (sometimes with several fingers missing…) who has all these requisites in remote towns and, those that do, don´t want the hassle. The police check points on the “ocho via” (highway) are another obstacle. Police set up road blocks at all junctions to search for illegal contraband. Illegal?? Some guy trying to turn his unneeded food into money is illegal?

The news of late has been all about Cuba offering government land to farmers so that they can produce more food but, what about all those farmers who already have food? What efforts are being made to make a concerted effort to get their produce to market? They won´t or can´t take it, don´t know how to or simply still think it’s illegal as it has been for years. People out in the countryside live with outdated information and something as new as “it being legal to sell” may not reach them this decade…Most of these little towns and villages don’t get even Granma newspaper and nothing is being said on TV about this. What about a free number to call on National TV where people can call in and advise what produce they have and when? What about a government financed truck doing the rounds to these places and collecting the goods and paying on the spot for the goods? If they want socialist themes they could always exchange soap or cooking oil for a few kilos of Avocados or something. No? The problem is that there´s a vide between searching for free enterprise and the socialist doctrine. This vide is what today stifles any centralized decisions and, the meager Idea I put forth here. Basically, a group of the top brass sit in a room and say “no way, we can´t teach the whole country about free enterprise on TV” and the whole concept is shelved through fears of the ideological ramifications. The problem is that in radical times you need radical solutions. Imagine whole towns out in the countryside, spearheaded by their CDR (Sort of district council), getting word that they must contact neighbors and people living in their area to coordinate a mass selection of unused food stuffs for a government truck that will arrive, say next Wednesday, to collect all the food and pay on the spot?

As far as I am concerned the food is there, it’s available, it will invariably rot because no centralized scheme exists to tell those who have it that the government needs it, will collect it and pay in cash. Or will they??

Roll on the TV ad, just before the Noticiero (TV news) I say!!

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