Speaking of food production
And as usual, there has not been much by way of real debate.
It’s all as predictable and dull and stage-managed as .... well, as the sessions of the old Supreme Soviet, on which the Assembly was modelled.
But some of the “official” figures provided to Assembly deputies by the various ministers supposedly called to account give a rare glimpse into what passes for public policy on the island.
For instance, the Minister for Finance and Prices, Georgina Barreiro, has revealed that the State has only recently paid off debts owed to small farmers worth 550 million pesos – or about USD23 million.
Not surprisingly, small farmers were less than impressed by the late payments – after all, they now provide about two-thirds of the country’s fruit and vegetable production, even though they have access to just a third of workable land.
The deputies have also been told that food production dropped by about seven per cent last year (I blame George W Bush, of course), which means the regime will have to import foodstuffs worth about USD1.6 billion in 2007.
And about a third of the imported food will come from … the United States.