Oxen taking over from tractors in CubaAugust 26th, 2009 - 12:51 pm ICT by IANS
Havana, Aug 26 (EFE) The Cuban government is creating centres for training thousands of oxen as the island’s farm sector struggles with a shortage of tractors, fuel and the money to buy them, Communist Party daily Granma has said.
In the central province of Villa Clara east of Havana, an estimated 3,112 pair of oxen are needed to “boost food production and save on fuel”.
President Raul Castro says that boosting domestic food production is a matter of “national security”.
The island currently imports 80 percent of what its 11.2 million inhabitants consume, even as half of Cuba’s arable land lies fallow.
Given the deathly state of the island’s economy — the value of imports quadrupled that of exports at the beginning of the year — the goal is to have two teams of oxen for every 94 acres of farm land.
“Also being planned is the training of oxherds, blacksmiths and artisans who work with the oxen, as well as the manufacture of ploughs, carts, harrows and cultivators,” Granma said.
The Cuban government is giving individual farmers and cooperatives long-term tenure over thousands of acres of idle land as part of its plan to boost food production.
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Tags: arable land, artisans, blacksmiths, central province, communist party, cooperatives, cuba havana, cuban government, cultivators, domestic food production, east of havana, farm sector, granma, harrows, inhabitants, national security, pair of oxen, raul castro, term tenure, tractors