Milk and meat for the food security of the Municipality of Mantua
"Milk and meat for the food security of the Municipality of Mantua" arises from the collaboration initiated by ARCS with the institutions and organizations of the Province of Pinar del Rio through the annual pilot project "Support to the development of urban and sub-urban agriculture and a marketing system in the city of Pinar del Rio "(eco-friendly agriculture and renewable energy). It sees as a local partner the ACTAF (Cuban Agricultural and Forestry Technical Association), the same Municipality of Mantua, the Municipal Delegation of the Cuban Ministry of Agriculture, and the University of Pinar del Rio.
The project intervenes to support the production system of three municipal cooperatives (Clavellinas, Dimas, Laguna) with a total of 4 stalls, and is basically based on two main axes recognized as weak points in the local breeding system:
1 - the health condition of the livestock: the livestock feeding process will be interposed both by reorganizing the system of pastures through their expansion (cleaning of weeds), and reorganization of the same (rotation systems); both expanding the production of food and fodder to ensure proper feeding of livestock even during dry periods. For this purpose, it is intended, for example, to start an intensive production of King Grass through solar pump irrigation systems. In addition, a program of monthly health checks will be launched to verify the health status of livestock.
2 - the skills and competences of producers: in addition to providing farmers with the means and equipment to make their work more effective (restoring tractors, milking machines, refrigeration systems and milk storage), and carrying out measures to restore the structure of the stables, a training program for breeders will be organized on the aspects identified as necessary and the application of methodologies such as artificial insemination and breeding genetic selection to maximize the productivity of the animals.
Cuba is a purely agricultural country that can not count on many natural and technical resources, for this reason, due to the consequent insufficient food production, the weight represented by imports significantly affects the welfare state of the population. This situation is even more critical with regard to the cattle breeding sector and milk production, which are inefficient and under-utilized compared to what are the potentials of the territory.
Moreover, there is a lack of adequate mechanical equipment (tractors and equipment for the processing of soils, irrigation systems, milk conservation systems, etc.) as well as the lack of ability of cooperative members to apply efficient methodologies. This aspect is found above all in the management of the feeding of cattle, which is left above all to pasture in the semi-wild state in large parcels of land without an adequate distribution of the pastures for the regeneration of the land. Under these conditions, the herds often suffer from undernourishment, especially during dry periods and with high mortality rates. The same cycle of production, conservation and distribution of milk shows particularly hygienic deficiencies being carried out by hand or by using unsuitable means (for example containers for storing transport).
For the province of Pinar del Rio, as reported in the addresses of the Ministry of Agriculture of the province, the municipality of Mantua has been identified among the municipalities to be prioritized with the interventions aimed at developing the agropastoral sector to ensure the food sufficiency of the city's population, and later also of the neighboring Municipalities. In the same directions, the increase in the production of meat and its derivatives, and their conservation and commericalization, are indicated as priorities both in the General Program for development projects and in the Integral Breeding program.