The Cuban government will implement increased rationing of staple grocery items in the face of extensive food shortages, which the government blame on Donald Trump’s trade sanctions.
The country’s Commerce Minister Betsy Díaz Velázquez announced on Friday that chicken, eggs, rice, beans, soap and other basic products will all be rationed in the communist country.
She outlined the grave food situation in Cuba in an interview with the state-run Cuban News Agency, saying the country had produced 900,000 fewer eggs than the 5.7 million needed daily to satisfy national demand.
The country has also failed to meet its production of pork by hundreds of tonnes, according to the Commerce Minister.
The Cuban government will implement widespread rationing of staple grocery items in the face of extensive food shortages
Cubans waiting in line to buy chicken at a government-run grocery store in Havana, Cuba last month
‘We’re calling for calm,’ Velázquez said.
She tried to reassure citizens in some fashion by reiterating there would be no rationing of cooking oil.
She said: ‘It’s not a product that will be absent from the market in any way.’
Velázquez blamed increased U.S. trade sanctions under Donald Trump for the country’s current inability to make up for the country’s shortfall in food production, however many economists place a greater amount of blame on decreased aid from Venezuela.
The collapse of Venezuela’s state oil company has led to a two-thirds cut in subsidised fuel shipments to Cuba, which the country uses as a commodity to facilitate international trade.
The country’s government blames U.S. trade sanctions for the increased rationing, however some economists say it is due to decreased aid from Venezuela
People shop for food in Havana shortly after increased rationing was announced on basic goods
Cuba imports about two-thirds of its food at a cost of more than £1.5 billion, with shortages quickly causing long supermarket lines.
In recent months, a growing number of products have started to go missing for days or weeks at a time, and long lines have sprung up within minutes of the appearance of scarce products like chicken or flour.
Many shoppers find themselves still standing in line when the products run out, a problem the government has been blaming on ‘hoarders.’
Havana shopping centres have been given orders by the country’s government to limit powdered milk to four packets per person, sausages to four packs per person and peas to five packets per person.
The Cuban government often blames hoarding for the country’s intermittent food shortages
Havana shopping centres have been given orders by the country’s government to limit powdered milk to four packets per person, sausages to four packs per person and peas to five packets per person
Chicken will now be sold in limited quantities in every type of store – with cheaper chicken limited to 11 pounds per purchase and the more expensive variety capped at two packages per purchase.
Low-priced soap, rice, bean, peas and eggs will now only be sold in limited quantities per person and controlled through the national system of ration books.
One shopper at a Havana super market said the rations were the correct decision by the government.
‘The country’s going through a tough moment,’ 56-year-old tobacco-factory worker Lazara García said.
In this Oct. 9, 2009 file photo, an employee works in a government food store with empty shelves in Havana, Cuba
‘This is the right response – without this, there’ll be hoarders.
‘I just got out of work and I was able to buy hot dogs.’
However, business owner Manuel Ordoñez, 43, said the measures would do little to solve the country’s problems.
‘What the country needs to do is produce,’ he said.
‘Sufficient merchandise is what will lead to shorter lines.’