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More than a hundred refrigerated silos for storing wheat, corn, soy, beans, rice and other grains are now in use as Cuba seeks to increase its food storage capacity. The goal is to have another similar amount in operation by the middle of the year.

First Vice President Raul Castro toured the grain storage facility along with General Leopoldo Cintra Frias and Olga Lidia Tapia, first secretary of the Communist Party for the province of Pinar del Rio.

Besides other national security reasons, the investment in infrastructure is also to increase the margin of coverage of food products, Brigadier General Moises Sio Wong, president of the National Institute of State Reserves told the press covering Raul Castros visit.

We cant forget the ups and downs weve had in the national production of eggs due to the lack of chicken feed; now, our reserves are greater with the increased storage capacity.

Wong added that grain storage in optimum conditions is fundamental to guarantee stability in the delivery of basic foodstuffs for the population. He noted that Cuba must also increase readiness for emergency situations like hurricanes and other climatic phenomena that could affect the island or the producing and exporting countries that sell to Cuba.

Besides the new modern refrigerated silos, Wong noted that the conventional silos and refrigerated warehouses as well as transport vehicles and port facilities are under repair.

At the silos located in the municipality of San Cristobal, Raul Castro enquired about the technical training received by the workers. He insisted on the importance of maintaining the stipulated periods of rotation of the grains so that none go bad.

San Cristobal has two silos operating and a modern grain mill with a packing plant administered by the Food Industry. Families are already seeing the benefits of the investment as to date 354,000 bags of corn flour in 500 gram packages have been distributed.

Olga Lidia Tapa explained that the product is distributed in the 14 municipalities of Pinar del Rio at 123 different sales points.

Gen. Sio Wong told Raul Castro that the Ministries of Construction, Agriculture and Sugar are in charge of building the foundations for the silos throughout the country. He said 25 of those will have adjacent grain processing plants.

Increasing reserves of all kinds, and especially foodstuffs, was one of the decisions that came out the Bastion 2004 Strategic Military Exercises.

In his speech in the Plaza of the Revolution on May Day, 2006, President Fidel Castro said the initial phase of investment in 120 silos would have a capacity of 240,000 metric tons of grain. This, he said, would be followed by a second phase of 130 silos and a third that should add 500,000 metric tons of storage capacity.

Fuente: Por Maria Julia Mayoral, Granma

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