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With Cuba's well-documented ability to feed itself, why would the Cuban government be interested in spending $91.9 million on food imports?

That statement makes me rather skeptical of the report. Cuba has a well documented inability to feed itself.

Food import dependency dropped drastically in the nineties from about sixty percent to forty percent - that's not what I'd call self-sufficient. Part of that reduction came courtesy of the reforms you rightly praise, but part because of a reduction in food intake to the point of mass malnutrition (though there again, Cuba's well organized and equitable food distribution system prevented the mass starvation that would have ensued in a third world country which relied on the market to enforce demand destruction).

If you feel at looking at some of the stats see this article (written by an anti-Castro academic, but the stats come from the FAO) or wander through the FAO data yourself over here Their latest data (2003) shows that Cuba's domestic production accounted for a little under half of its population's grain consumption (by far the single largest source of calories), one seventh of its edible oil consumption, and about sixty percent of its meat and dairy consumption. The areas where it was self sufficient were roots and tubers and sweeteners.

Cuba's a great example for the argument that we can make sharp reductions in the fossil fuel inputs in agriculture. It's also a great example for how the complete elimination of fossil fuels without some sort of substitute would spell disaster.

by MarekNYC on Wed May 28th, 2008 at 02:09:02 PM EST
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