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Cuban Livestock Sector Impoverished from Drought and Lack of Investment

LADB Article ID: 79319
Category/Department: Cuba
Date: 2013-05-29
By: Daniel Vázquez

The image of starving cows and the confirmation of the deaths of thousands of cattle from lack of water and food have become common in Cuba's livestock sector, which, authorities say, needs urgent investment after more than two decades of deterioration accompanied by the high annual expenditure of millions of dollars to import powdered milk. Milk production in Cuba reached 503.6 million liters in 2013, although the country actually consumed about 1.8 billion liters. Production was 1.1 billion liters annually in the 1980s, the time of beneficial subsidies from the Eastern European communist bloc. When the generous Soviet aid ended, the availability of food for the cattle dropped on the island. In three decades, meat production also decreased from 300,000 tons to 100,000 tons, while the number of cattle decreased from 7 million to less than 4 million, according to the official newspaper Juventud Rebelde.

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