News »

How can we redouble the strengths of local development?

cuba cria pollosLocated in the irregular topography on the southern slope of the Lomerío de la Gran Piedra, with limited sources of water, “La Fortaleza” farm owes its name to the laborious hands and entrepreneurial spirit of Aida Dolz Mariño, a woman who arrived there with her family from the city 25 years ago.

While her son Ciro Verdecia displays his degree in Medicine in the improvised office, he has another doctorate in getting back to the land, with which he influenced his mother, proposing the purchase of 500 chicks that were raised on the roof of their house, in the middle of the special period, helping to sustain the family. She recruited everyone to the task, like a Mariana of those times.

From what was then a little more than one hectare received in usufruct, today the farm includes the 44 that President of the Republic Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez visited during his most recent visit to the province, when he admired what has been accomplished, saying the farm is an example of a local development program worthy of being generalized across the nation.

Aida Dolz spoke with Granma about the meeting, saying that it strengthened her love and gratitude for the Revolution, while her son Ciro Verdecia, who accompanied the President, said that the visit was a dream come true, since he is deeply convinced of the value of their work and that agricultural producers can count on the country’s leadership.

“I had always wished,” he said, “that he and Raul would see what we do as a contribution to the Revolution, and we really did not know if it would happen. It was like a miracle we had prayed for, shouted for, and then I wondered what do I say? But as soon as I had him in front of me, with his kindness and simplicity, it was like a conversation between old acquaintances.”

As the Cuban President learned, the farm is distinguished by a complete productive system, functioning within efficient programs that operate together, but the lead product, given its magnitude, is pork, followed closely by poultry, rabbit and the fattening of bulls, plus the cultivation of human food, high-protein plant fodder for animals, and medicinal plants.

For the thousand tons of high quality pork meat they are committed to producing annually, they have capacity in bays for 4,500 piglets and the possibility of carrying out 2.2 productive cycles, with a first delivery made through the selection of animals that, after only four months, grow from 100 to 110 kilograms of weight, and are immediately replaced.

Discipline and rigor in handling are essential to the care of his 365 animals, says the head of this area, Alexiuber Barroso Barroso, the only way to take full advantage of the feed plan being used, which includes vitamins, minerals, honey, soy and fodder based on banana poplar, plantain foliage, moringa, mulberry and tithonia.

Regarding chicken breeding, which began with a stock of 500 chickens, now reaching 15,000, Ciro Verdecia says this is currently the principal program under development at “La Fortaleza,” with the construction of two new bays to increase installed capacity to 20,000 birds, using modern technology that allows for five production cycles per year.

Based on the effective use of a bank loan, the poultry bays are equipped with nebulizers and fans that cool the ambient temperature, LED lamps that provide optimal lighting, automated feeders and water sippers, rigorous hygiene, and means of protection in the event of bad weather, which together counteract stress among the birds.

This meat is destined for sale to the state wholesaler, as are other productions, and the introduction of a closed cycle system is planned for next year, including all stages of production from the egg, through incubation, fattening of the bird, slaughter, packing and freezing of the product, all onsite, with quality assured technologically and assigned personnel fully trained.

Confident that rabbit breeding can contribute to the country’s food sovereignty, Verdecia reported that “La Fortaleza” currently has 400 reproducers and supplied four tons of meat this year. Additionally, incorporated just a few months ago was semi-stabled bull fattening, in a bay with capacity for 120 heads of cattle, fed a diet which includes high-protein plant fodder.

“Everything,” said Ciro Verdecia, “has been achieved in the interest of supporting the country’s priorities, and when you start from scratch nothing is easy, mistakes are made, and the best thing you can do is to work hard, so that when you turn to those with better experiences, to science and technology institutions, they are confident that their cooperation will not be in vain.”

On the basis of this premise, the farm’s 123 permanent workers and some 20 part-time, mostly from the area, share with others the technology and agro-ecological practices implemented here, the organizational culture, the agro-ecological techniques and their defense of the environment through the use and adequate management of waste, reforestation and drainage systems.

Similarly, agreements established with the Universidad de Oriente and scientific institutions affiliated with the Ministry of Agriculture, cooperate in projects for the generation of renewable energy, water recycling, studies of soils, development of hybrid varieties, production of biofertilizers, and use of as much advanced technology as possible.

Verdecia insisted, “We are open to exchanges with state agencies and other producers around all these issues. That’s what we told compañero Díaz-Canel when he said that our little piece of land was also the country, and we told him to count on us for any task he wanted to assign us, no matter how complex.”

“To hear him say that applying our experience can contribute to finding solutions more quickly, attacking the problems piece by piece, is express recognition of the contribution made by producers who, in our case, following this wonderful visit, feel even more committed to continue providing food for the people.”


This is experience that must be applied immediately. When one sees the wisdom, sees what has been done on this farm over many years of work, the gains they have made with very focused thinking on how to manage the land and take advantage of it in the most efficient way, the first thing one asks is: OK, if we have experience in doing things well, why aren’t we rapidly generalizing this experience?

This is an example of organizational culture, of management, innovation. They have links with the University (of Oriente), with almost all the country’s agricultural sciences centers. Everyone has been there, and they have set up innovation projects with almost all of them.

The things that have been criticized in other places work well here (at the farm). They have been able to use Cuban financed bank credit. There is no international cooperation project here, no. They have achieved the same things that we have seen in other projects that involve international cooperation.

This is a local development project; there is technology development; there is work on one of the country’s priorities; there is employment for the people in the area; there is sustainable development, because they have a culture of sustainability that promotes caring for the environment.

This is a local productive system that has generated employment opportunities for hundreds and thousands of people who have a development perspective in their lives, and their life projects coincide with those of this development program.

They produce a thousand tons of pork a year, 230 tons of chicken and other meats including rabbit. Let’s stop to consider the pork. We are going for around 200,000 tons in the country. With 200 producers like these, we can solve the country’s problem. Let’s go for more, let’s double that, with 400 pork producers like these, the country’s problems can be solved. So what do we have to do now? Identify how we can find the 400 producers in the country who have this potential.

We must do this with pork, with poultry, in each of the lines, with those who produce various crops, and we are going to calculate the proportions, and ensure that everyone contributes more. This is breaking the problem down into small pieces, and learning how we can achieve better results, in a more efficient manner.

(Taken from Granma)

Make a comment

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