CUBA- Official press outlets have acknowledged a shortage of “basic grains” and cooking oil, both of which are sold through the country’s rationing system. The news, which comes as no surprise to Cuban consumers, was softened by Cubadebate by blaming “late deliveries” and “import delays.”
Furthermore, the Ministry of Commerce warned that deliveries of rice are being delayed to almost half of the country, primarily in the provinces of Matanzas, Ciego de Avila, Las Tunas, Holguin, Santiago de Cuba, and Guantanamo.
There was a shortfall of 33,910 tons from the estimated 36,000-ton supply for March as companies affiliated with the ministry began distributing 2,090 tons of grain. As a result of an anonymous donation, the government will include a free pound of rice in the next monthly food ration.
Cuban families have been suffering from delayed deliveries of cooking oil since January due to “late arrivals” of imports. The January quota has not yet arrived in Pinar del Rio, Ciego de Avila, and Holguin. Government officials admit that February’s deliveries are also behind schedule, but hope locally produced supplies will enable them to catch up by the end of this week.
Based on preliminary results from the 2022-2023 sugar harvest, production will remain low, far below the official target of 455,198 tons. The Cubadebate also points out that sugar deliveries are dependent on the country’s supply.
According to the government, dried beans and peas are available, but the delivery of March quotas will be delayed in 11 areas.
It also reports that powdered milk for minors, as well as fresh milk for children over one year, will be available at collection centers from Matanzas to Las Tunas. Chicken rationing has also begun. In the meantime, domestic producers of canned fruit and coffee are striving to meet their delivery deadlines.
Donated food packages will once again be delivered to families in Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo, and Holguin.
Furthermore, salt shortages have now been reported in the country. The Minister of Energy and Mines, Vincent de la O Levy, explained last week that railroad problems have complicated distribution.
“Our warehouses are full of salt but it is not reaching consumers because of transportation problems,” he said. At the same time, he announced that the Armed Forces would take charge of moving 300 tons of salt by ship to Havana.
Cuba’s government acknowledges it must rely on imports to meet the basic nutritional needs of its population, contrary to official claims that “food sovereignty” is being achieved. In addition to being more vulnerable to swings in international markets, the availability of its trading partners’ supplies, and the country’s own credit capacity, make the country less able to pay for these purchases.