Reasons to be satisfied

Pedro Peña was  satisfied on his way  home. On the back of his wheelchair he had a bag  hanging with several pounds of pork meat , at only 18 pesos each. Who can complain? It is a very good price and they weigh meat   properly, ”says this handicapped elderly man, at the exit of the sale stand  at  La Victoria CAN, in Bahía Honda.

With number 109 on the list to buy, Xiomara Pérez, a worker in the laundromat located on 28 Enero avenue, was the first one to  buy  on Saturday, June 13, after staying in line the  previous day. But it is the second time she buys  these highly demanded meat products. “Great deal! Hopefully we will never be short of it! ”

And it is really incomparable. No other state establishment, much less a private one, offers pork meat  to the population at such a price. Every Tuesday and Saturday a truck arrives from Bahia, with an average of 800 pounds to sell to the people.

“A great dea: one of the many things that can be done, when we think about people and not about enriching the few!” This is how Liosbel Sandoval, the administrator, defends this endeavor.

The formula?

The cooperative buys the pigs out of agreement with the Pig Company, at 30 pesos a pound of live pig, and they sell nine out of ten animals to companies that pay 4.50 CUC per kilogram of pig in band. With the profits  from that sale, they subsidize the meat for the population.

Although the price to companies allows the price paid by the people to 18 pesos, they also earn: in this way they get  what they usually do not achieve, since they do not have access to state pig production, preceded by tourism and consumption as a social priority. In addition, it costs less than 5.00 CUC to Selected Fruits.

Osmel Aroche, CNA president, refers  to the drawbacks  of this splendid task . "The decrease when slaughtering pigs reaches 32%. To this we add necessary operations such as moving two water pipes (to which we supply fuel) to the ice factory located in Cabañas, to bring it and preserve the meat.

"But that amount of ice is not enough. We contracted with the Guanajay factory and the 30 de Noviembre plant in San Cristóbal, to complete between six and eight tons. The same must be added to the payment to the workers involved. All that operational expense increases the cost to about 48 pesos each pound. "

This man, able to make   one dream after another come true , is proud to reveal that they have used more than two million pesos to subsidize 130 tons of meat (out of the 1,300 collected).

“In early 2019 we sold the pound at 20, then at 18, with a profit margin of 10-12%. And in the first quarter of 2020, it was 60 tons at that price. However, on January 17 in the current year  a new stage began for the CNA, by opening a sale stand  in the provincial capital. “It is the model of support of a Bahia Honda Non-Agricultural Cooperative for #Artemisa. Until late  April, that entity  sold 22 tons of meat and another 11 of pork by-products.

"It has had the expected social impact, in line with our principles of contributing to feeding the people without the usual abusive prices."

It  was a  huge success

It seems as if such a small place  could fit the entire #Artemisa. They get there from the most dissimilar places in the municipality, without the need for any media to inform them of their generous work. Of course, not everyone buys during the day, sometimes not even the next time, but they know that it will be their turn, since the supply is steady.

“Some people ask why we don't sell more, not knowing how much effort this requires. At first we experienced several detestable events, before and even now with COVID-19. So, we organize ourselves better.

“We try that  everyone takes a piece of meat. We distribute 300 tickets . We take down  the  name and identity card so that they are not repeated, and avoid the resellers get the  meat . Those who have a ticket  already know when they should come to make the purchase, ” the manager says.

“We also provide a delivery  service for bedridden elderly  persons . We verified this with an officer from the Minint and Clara Peñalver, the president of Reparto Nuevo popular council. We also consider other patients who cannot get here; a relative presents the disabled card, signs up and after 15 days he returns to buy.

"We serve people with children who suffer from  cancer, diabetis or because of their anemia they can only eat liver. Major Pablo García, from  the Minint, helps us in that goal. I remember the mother of two children: one with diabetes and the other with AIDS. You realize that you really are doing a noble job. ”

We confirm it with Oscar Figuera. This old man arrived with tears that very soon changed to a smile, as soon as he was able to buy food for his wife Odalis, who has been bedridden for eight months by a cerebral thrombosis. "She has chicken, but she can't eat it. This idea seems very fair to me. They are doing things well. "

Clara Peñalver adds that “they repaired not only this place where there was a  bread stand, but also the market . People are satisfied with the quality of the meat, hygiene, treatment, information… and very happy! Imagine: private sellers set the price  up to 70 pesos for a pound.

"That is why we have to fight against any negative attitude . We have the support and presence of the colleagues from the Minint ”.

Of course, nothing should tarnish the tenacity of Bahía Honda´s CNA, by opening and supplying this sale stand , placing itself ever closer to the pocket of Artemisa´s settlers and making this cooperative a true market for the people.

TRANSLATION BY  LMMS

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