News »

Rafael Fundora’s secret, or how Cuban lemons got to Spain

lazaro fundora

Lázaro Rafael Fundora Hernández made his first export of lemons to Spain recently. Photo: Courtesy of the interviewee.

Lázaro Rafael Fundora Hernández is a man who does not believe in luck. Making his first export of lemons to Spain and directing the sale of avocados abroad has been the result of many years of perseverance. “What we achieved was a family endeavor, we proposed them and we achieved it,” he says without stopping the movement of the mincer over the lands where he was born.

After two years of efforts to place its products outside the borders, the new legal regulations that allow non-state businesses to access the international market, opened the doors to an old desire.

“As a producer, I had been trying for a couple of years because I have always believed that the future of development in this country is based on exports. This is the most effective way to collect foreign currency that helps us to buy what we need ”, he says.

In the middle of the guardrail and under the overcast sky that predicts water, this farmer confesses that despite multiple efforts, until now he had not had that possibility , since there were always difficulties in receiving payment.

“We did not have the way to obtain the profits because the Credit and Service Cooperatives do not manage accounts in foreign currency. Now new resolutions like 315 have come out, where we have legal protection to do so ”.

Heir to a family tradition that dates back to his grandparents, Fundora Hernández recognizes the challenge of having exportable quality products , a fact that does not worry him despite the difficulties he faces in achieving it.

“We compete in a very demanding market, where hygiene and presence are above all ensured. We must also bear in mind that we are inserting ourselves in a consolidated niche, and we must understand its logic to be competitive ”.


There are several requirements to be able to export the fruits to the European country.


There are several requirements to be able to export the fruits to the European country.

Good color, juiciness, size and being free of scratches and pests are some of the basic requirements demanded by the client. Demands that this landowner and his family meet to the letter. “It is a challenge given our scarce technology and Cuba’s poor agricultural development. The secret is to put all the effort to the earth ”.

Thanks to that consecration, Lazaro already put 1.08 tons of Persian lime or lemon on the Old Continent.

After touring part of the three caballerias that make up the La Esperanza farm , this producer confirms that to achieve exportable products not only requires good will, but also requires advice and scientific certification.

“The first thing was to certify the phytosanitary conditions since there cannot be pests that pose a threat to the outside world. We set traps and the samples were taken to the laboratory so that everything was in order. It was followed for two years because there are pests that are seasonal, ”he says.

With this important step overdue, he went in search of the exporting company. His hortened path was due to the fact that for years it had contractual ties with the Frutas Selectas Company, enabled for these tasks.


The next order will be the sale of avocados.


“I already had a stable working relationship because I was selected to market tourism products some time ago. We only had to inquire about potential clients and update the contracts ”.

In Lázaro Rafael’s opinion, receiving the advice of the Cuban company was not a deterrent. The entity’s expertise allowed it, among other things, to have support for the transportation of products, at a time when COVID-19 hinders any international movement.

For the Mayan peasant, this is only the first step. The lands of the Madruga municipality will also see the demand for mango and purple cherimoya multiply , very desirable products for the Italian and Canadian counterparts who await the arrival of pulp, pieces or other preparations from the Greater Antilles.

“We have made the maximum effort to achieve the export, even to reach the airspaces. Fruits have a limited life and therefore there can be no delays in transportation and with the closings of the COVID it has been complex ”, acknowledges Fundora showing the correct sealing of one of the boxes full of avocado.

The next order will be the sale of avocados.

“My goals were always to work for the sale abroad and thus acquire supplies and equipment to improve the production of the farm. We are clear that Cuba cannot supply these necessary implements for each peasant and that is why each one must do everything possible to be more self-sufficient in this regard, “he warned.

Aware of the deficit of lemon and other citrus fruits in the country, he reveals that it is not a contradiction at all to export them abroad. “If we want to improve the harvests here, we have to find currency to replenish ourselves. Lime is a rare product in Cuba and difficult to achieve and that is a challenge for me. Anyone can achieve the easy, the difficult only those who propose it ”.

This is how the project of this farmer who is involved in taking his fruit to Europe advances. While the products of the La Esperanza farm are already displayed on the shelves of the stores in Spain, Lázaro looks at the earth and sees the dream come true of his grandfather, a man who taught him that great works are not carried out by the strength, but by perseverance.

(By: Oscar Figueredo Reinaldo)

Make a comment

Your email address will not be published. The mandatory fields are marked. *