No one would believe, without seeing it, that somewhere in the Havana municipality of Playa, on a piece of land not as large as the fruits it produces, wasting a millimeter of soil is considered heresy and being truly efficient does not remain a slogan. This is proven by the results of the six or seven men who work there, and even Caramelo and Rosado, the two oxen who, in the absence of a tractor, do their part to plow the land.
Pedro Valdés Pérez, the owner of the Minctoy integral farm, of double national excellence and located a little beyond the Barbosa Division, is a veterinarian by profession, but his bond with the land was inherited from his father, and this from his. The peasant tradition runs through his veins like water through the furrows where he puts all his efforts, even if it costs him ingenuity and, at times, the odd dislike.
His two and a half hectares of land, used 100%, Pedro showed them to Granma recently, because its strategies are worth telling and the results it achieves are no longer cold numbers when they are translated into vegetables, fruits and meats for 26 centers of social consumption in that municipality, among them, homes for children without family, maternal, nursery schools and nursing homes; in addition to several points of sale.
Very certain are the economic blockade, the lack of fertilizers, the need for technologies, and even the many obstacles that still remain in the entire agricultural chain, but none of that stops an entrepreneur like Pedro Valdés Pérez.
In the parameters of the total plan for the year, Yoel Barreto Rodríguez, president of the Arístides Estévez cooperative – to which Pedro is associated – confirmed, Minctoy overcomplies, and those calculations are only up to September.
He reported, for example, that it has managed to deliver nearly double what was expected in meats and vegetables, and also contributed more than a ton and a half of fruit trees above the commitment.
The keys, says Pedro humbly, are to have the culture and the will not to leave a piece of land uncultivated. Due to the lack of fertilizer, he not only collects the excrement of his animals, he even cleans the state poultry farm that adjoins his property to use that waste and make his compost. “From there comes a luxurious organic matter,” he rejoices.
HOW PEDRO ALSO MAINTAINS «THE TENDERNESS»
Nothing can be thrown away here, all these waste must be valued, he reiterates because he is aware that they make a difference even if it is one more pound of meat, says Pedro.
“Most of the people peel a fruit and throw away the peel, but not me. I process that waste, then mix it with 20 or 25% grains and feed for my animals. It is a perfect solution to reduce feed consumption, which is rarely found, and in freely convertible currency (MLC). With this product, the cattle get the vitamins and proteins they need ”, he explains.
The noise of the artisan machine grinding those shells must be as much a relief to Pedro’s pocket as a kind of music to the pigs’ ears. He raises them, a score of cows and ten calves, in La Ternura, a farm of which he has been the usufructuary for more than 12 years.
“We spend our lives justifying that it is not possible because of the blockade, but the blockade does not prevent me from inventing things like this,” he says.
And that is why it achieved the 0.18 kg of meat from small livestock committed for this 2021 and double what it corresponded to in large livestock.
It is also considered the best milk producer in Playa. To the 3 120 liters of that food, which he had to deliver to the Dairy Company, he added more than 2 000 and the count does not end, because 2021 is not over yet.
However, he confesses, he is one of the many producers who has not received his payment from the Lacteo at MLC. He says that the conciliation takes a whole day and, he suggests, in this process it is necessary to have more ties between the company and the peasant, as well as to change the treatment of the matter.
In his view, all the measures being adopted to boost agricultural production have brought innumerable benefits, but there is still a long way to go and the approach must be respected. Although it is necessary, as he has it, the support of the Party authorities and the Government at the local level.
He admits that he does not have ten caballerias of land, so his contribution may seem not so great, but he manages to plant avocado and have it all year, intersperse coffee to strain his workers in the mornings and tries to rescue fruit trees already almost faded in the memory of Cubans like the sugar apple, the soursop and the Chinese mamoncillo. Also, it dedicates space to semi-protected crops and will soon install a covered grow house.
For now, he may only have to perfect his work, overcome some external difficulty or another.
However, the country’s enormous challenge –feeding all the people– must be achieved with more producers like Pedro, who set goals similar to his, or bigger, or smaller, it doesn’t matter, as long as it means getting the maximum possible fruit out of it. to the furrow that they carve with the sweat of their brow.