CIEGO DE ÁVILA.-Gustavo Rodríguez Rollero, minister of Agriculture, addressed the Fruit Cooperatives Movement's 7th National Encounter held here, and called on the 200-plus participants to expand production of fresh fruit as well as exports.
All variants of sales abroad must be carefully studied, he said, including the possibility of supplying cruise ships that visit the island, while Ulises Rosales del Toro, a Council of Ministers vice president, reported that a ton of fresh mango sells for 2,610 dollars on the international market.
More than 206 entities have joined the movement, among them credit and services cooperatives, as well as agricultural production cooperatives, and basic units of cooperative production (UBPC), looking to expand and diversify the production of fresh fruit on a total of 14,000 hectares under cultivation.
Minister Rodríguez Rollero praised the way in which the province of Ciego de Ávila has promoted the cultivation of fruit, organizing sales and processing in a well-coordinated system including growers and food processing enterprises.
Also reported was the fact that, over the last five years, land dedicated to fruit orchards by movement members has grown by 15%, and production reached 104,867 tons last year, 20% above projections.
Among several fruit growers, Wilver Bringas Fernández, head of the Ceballos Food Processing Enterprise, was recognized for the company's success and for the positive relationship maintained with producers.
Closing the gathering, Félix Duarte Ortega, first secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba in the province, reiterated the importance of the group, recalling its founding at the Antonio Maceo Cooperative in Mayabeque, June 13, 2008, when President Raúl Castro called on this group of fruit growers to launch a national movement.