CAMAGÜEY.- This municipality is a proud pioneer of Cuba, the implementation of the program of the suburban agriculture, which in this April arrives at its 10 years of founded.

Grounds located in the 10 km perimeter around the beltway of the city of Camagüey, and the popular councils San Blas and Altagracia were and are the point of view of the program of the suburban agriculture. Project, founded in 2009 and that will spread until 2030, was promoted by the General of Army Raúl Castro Ruz with the objective to bring the food production to the metropolis.

To qualify the producers more and less experienced on the use of organic matter, the care of the soils by means of correct agro-techniques, the agro-ecological handling of plagues, the production and conservation of seeds, and the use and handling of the water are some of its many determinations.

At present, little more than 1 220 farms constitute the nucleus of the productive process in this environment, dedicated fundamentally to the breeding of major cattle, different crops, minor cattle, forest, fruits and porcine, in this order.

After a decade there are very good stories to tell, of the people who has put their lives in the ground to make it "give birth" and contribute to the feeding of the people; of those who, although there are no rule yet, has not left that either the lack of resources or the wrongs of the commercialization stop them, although food is still scarce and the prices in the barrows are so high.

THE PÉREZ

They are famous in the Marquesado neighborhood, not only for the skills in the cultivation of the vegetables that they inherited from their parents, but for being leaders and promoters of the credit cooperative and services (CCS) Renato Guitart since its foundation.

Their orchard was the first one in the province in obtaining the condition of National Reference and Orchard School of the Program of the Urban and Suburban Agriculture, not only in Camagüey, since they traveled all Cuba, including the Island of the Youth, to generalize their good practices.

The brothers Manuel Pérez Hernández and Blanca Rosa, at present the president of the CCS, assure that the orchard of Los Pérez will continue, because to their descendants also like the work in the field.

“We were born here and our life is along with the earth. From children we learned its dexterity. Look, if time has passed by that then we water the land with two cans with hollows on the tops of a stick that was taking in the shoulders”, Blanca confesses.

Manuel assures from the experience of the years:

“To have successes it is necessary to prepare well the ground and to guarantee the drainage and the organic matter that serves as food to these plants of short cycle; also, the poly-cultivation is important”.

The CCS is inserted in the movement of delivery of 100 000 quintal of vegetables, fruits and grains, commitment that they fulfill every year, she explains. “The productions of the cooperative have several destinations, among which there find the schools and kindergartens, a point of sale on the market La Arboleda, of the Julio Antonio Mella neighborhood, the store located on Cuba Street, and we commercialize also many vegetables with the supply and demand moving sellers. We want to open a point to sell products of our three mini-industries.

“Truth that it is necessary to produce much more and that today it is an urgency, but it is necessary that when the country has the conditions it prioritizes the delivery of implements and means of transportation to the cooperative and rural sector; we are those that contribute more and with less resources. I can assure you that if we had in the CCS some transport to gather to the peasants their harvests in the farms, we would treble what we deliver to Acopio”.

HARD WORK, BUT THE RESULTS ARE SEEN

There in the farm La Esperanza, in the Jagüey way, there is no space for weeds. To every span, Williams Molina Domínguez gives it a different use. In addition to the cattle, he sows pumpkin, guava, corn, bananas, custard apple, soursop, tangerine, mango, cane and king grass for the animals. And he also breed chickens, turkeys, and pigs for the family´s consumption. It seems so much, and only in one hectare and a half of ground.

“With the meal we have no problems. How is one going to live in the field and not have food? It takes a lot of work, very much, he insists, but the results are seen. There is no hour, sometimes it is around nine at night and my woman gives me a voice so that I go to eat because I am giving honey water to the cows so that they give more milk. I already delivered 2 000 more liters of what I had planned for this time of the year. Last year I was the best producer of milk of 'Renato Guitart'.

“I work with my son Williams and with a cowboy. It is a reality that many persons do not want to deal with the chores of the ground, there are other options with which it is gained more with less effort; for example, the resellers. In Cuba, if the people put more effort into things, the food would be more than enough. It is as the secretary of Party (Jorge Luis Tapia Fonseca) said a few days ago in the television: ' We will eat what we are capable of producing’”.

 

 

THE FORTUNE OF THE VERDES

For Guillermo Verde Carrió, “The Fortune” of his life is not only the name of his farm, but the happiness of knowing that he has the continuity guaranteed. At the age of 85, he sees proudly how his grandson Luis Miguel Carrió Verde and Luis Miguel Carrió González (the great-grandson Luisito) take the biggest weight of the work, although he is for his offspring “the master mind”.

“We begin with the different crops, but later we specialized in pig, cattle and the fruit trees. We gather 7 000 liters of cow´s milk, 200 tons of mango and 10 of pork meat a year approximately, the last one in the direction of the Agricultural Company of the Revolutionary Armed Forces. At present, we extend the pigsty, because 25 reproductive female pigs that we already have, do not fit in the current installation. We belong to the CCS Cándido González Morales”, affirmed the oldest of the Verde.

For Luisito, with only 19 years, the beginnings of his chores in the farm were not very attractive. “At first, as any boy, I did not like the ground. I can say that I catch the trick. I am already not afraid to the work, earlier I did fear it. I slept until 10 a.m. or worked an hour and returned to rest. Now I do it from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 m. and after 2:00 p.m. to 6 or 7:00 p.m. and even later if it needed. I attend the reproductive female pigs, order the corrals of the cows, cook the pigs´ food and wash the pigsty. I can already say that I like; except from milking, all the other activities. The work in the field is not bad; of course, it gives more money and helps to the economy of the family, in addition to producing for the people. I gain here 800 pesos a month and 3 % of the animals that I raise”.

BASULTICO DOES NOT BELIEVE IN IMPOSSIBLE

The one that saw 20 years ago the grounds where Basultico was trying to sow vegetables, of course thought that he was facing an impossible one, because that one is a soil of category three, which badly serves for the development of the cattle.

“First I had to extract the stones and later little by little dismantle the marabou. When I ended, I began to improve the soil. I have already worked for 17 years in that, I use the ordure and the rice husk, the latter I burned it to apply the ash that I put it to rot. It has been useful to work together with the Institute of Soils”.

In his farm El Huerto, he produces 90 % of the seeds that he uses (green peppers, bean, spinach beet, lettuce, parsley); also, he sells to the Company of Seeds and collaborates with other peasants of the CCS Cándido González.

Leonardo Basulto Rojas is one of the most recognized vegetable producers in the province, and in his moment they say that he was the biggest of all, but little electrical power´s potency that comes to his farm limits the pumping of the water to only two of six hectares that he has prepared for these crops.

“When I began I was using three turbines for the irrigation, but the potency has diminished and I can already only put one and it burns often. Without water I cannot sow, and that hurts me. I hope one day they will help me to produce more food. The quality of the soils was not an obstacle but the water´s absence it is. To work is my thing, and I have done it my whole life. To the ground it is necessary to put the heart to it and later the hands”.

  • Translated by Linet Acuña Quilez