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Cuba's agriculture production declines

Published:Friday | May 24, 2013 | 1:34 PM

The Cuban government says it has seen a dramatic and unexplained drop in the harvest of vegetables and fruit in the first three months of the year.



In a report, the Cuban National Statistics Office gave no reason for the production decline, despite government reforms to increase production in the Spanish-speaking country that spends more than US$1.5 billion on food imports.



The office said overall agricultural production with the exception of sugarcane, declined by 7.8 per cent in the first quarter of this year compared to the first three months of 2012.



Cuban President Raúl Castro, had initiated a campaign to heighten domestic food production, by leasing fallow state lands to private farmers, hiking the prices that the government pays for agricultural goods and easing state controls on the distribution networks.



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