In recent years one of the dreams of Cuban family cuisine, far from being the classic pork, reserved for the goodbye of the year, is the elusive potato. That is why when the authorities of the Agriculture in Matanzas announced the possible overrunning of the monarch absent from our stoves, we made a mouth water.
Only when the potato finally arrived, it threw our appetites to the ground with excuses that arrived in different ways: “the national seed does not equal”, “production is not enough for the whole nation”, “we must prioritize the capital” , “In the interior of the country there are no conditions to store in refrigerators”, “must be rationed“.
In Matanzas, one of the largest producers of potatoes in the country, should be distributed 17 pounds per person, according to a paper published by Radio Rebelde correspondent José Miguel Solís. In other provinces the numbers oscillate between 14 and 15, and nationally it was spoken of thirteen. To date, at least in the head city, three laps have been offered: the first, three pounds per person and the second and third, five.
The questions among the population do not wait: why ration it ?, why do they sell it for free at three days ?, why not to extend the purchase period a little more for people working on the street and Do not have time to queue ?, why not to offer more in Matanzas if it is one of the territories where it is most sown?
Of the 6,500 hectares planted in Cuba, 1,350 hectares have been planted on land. And the question that is reiterated every year: why not sell more and for longer?
For several years it has been explained that the production does not correspond to the increasing demands and that this line is expensive, mainly because the best seed is the one that is imported. For this and other reasons we can only dispose of that agricultural product for two or three months of the year.
In addition, in the producing provinces there is no refrigeration capacity to store it, because of this the regulated distribution only lasts until April, when the harvest ends, except in Havana, where it can be kept in refrigerators, according to Commerce executives Inside.
That would be the fundamental reason that in Havana the potato is present in the markets during a good part of the year and it makes possible that those who have transport go to buy it.
Since last February, the state agricultural markets and markets are the typical scenario where the popular film of the potato takes place. Irritation and even disorder causes everyone anxious to take home the well-known protagonist before the “sticks” buy it for free and adulterate its price.
Scenes in which opens the back door of the farm and run on two legs sacks of potatoes still full can be appreciated on occasion and the one who does the “line” to acquire it asks “where are those bundles that nobody ever saw sell ? While Maria is not making the purchase due to lack of time; Sonia, intimate friend of the placero and owner of the palate of the corner, monopolizes an amount superior to that would correspond by the norado.
But illegalities start from the field. There are sacks left that go to the hands of street vendors, who then throw five or six copies in a bag and when there are no longer in the state markets, they offer them at 25 pesos, violating the established, since nowhere is written That a self-employed can sell potatoes.
The production, distribution and commercialization becomes an increasingly popular theme and its protagonists are not always the workers of the field that make possible their harvest, but the “scoundrels”, who are a sort of “mystery” manage to obtain all year round , Although in the fourth month the harvest was over.
The normalized distribution of potatoes, although with its usual detractors, has been accepted by the population, at least it is a way to get everyone to have their ration guaranteed. However, we should think of greater equity in the territories that grow potatoes. That product has become something very precious, above typical dishes like pork, cassava or banana.
Therefore, at least as long as there is to distribute to the population, those responsible for its marketing must do everything possible so that it does not become the potato of discord.
(Written by first-year students of Journalism at the University of Matanzas)