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Farmers in the eastern province of Las Tunas expect to harvest over 5,300 tons of rice this year in an effort to help the country decrease costly imports of the cereal.

The production goal would exceed by two folds last year’s rice yield. More than 1, 320 rice producers from all eight local municipalities have joined the initiative to progressively increase rice cultivation.

Agriculture Ministry’s delegate in Las Tunas, Alexis Velazquez said that some 500 hectares of idle land have been put under exploitation in order to boost the project.  

The idle land initiative is in tune with a decree law passed in July 2008 aimed at increasing food production based on the distribution of lands under usufruct to individuals and legal entities willing to work the land.  

The official noted that plots of land will also be distributed in all municipalities to support the production of different seeds.

Cuba imports about three quarters of the nearly 700,000 tons of rice locally demanded. Most recent data released by the National Statistic Office (ONE) on its Webpage show that in 2008 the island imported about 567, 000 tons of rice at an average cost of more than 840 dollars a ton.

By Hernan Bosch


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