The food distribution network

The structure of networks and flows within the food system in Cuba were controlled by the state, the main organizations responsible for this being the following:

• Acopio (Unión Nacional de Acopio, National Collection Unit), the state food procurement and distribution agency for domestic farm produce. Divided into 14 provincial Acopio Enterprises, and with over 3700 municipal sales points as well as the task of supplying the MINCIN ration stores.

• Frutas Selectas, in charge of supplying produce for tourism and related activities.

• Other national-level Agricultural Enterprises and Unions, usually commodity based, for example for seeds (Empresa de Semillas), mixed crops (Empresa de Cultivos Varios), tobacco (Empresa del Tobaco).

• Ministry for Internal Trade (MINCIN), responsible for administering the ration system through its provincial, municipal and local networks. The ration stores channelled both imported and locally produced (and processed) foodstuffs, through La Bodega (the warehouse - for food products) and Las Placitas (the agricultural sales points - for fruit and vegetables). These ration stores also sold non-rationed, subsidized items. MINCIN also operated a nationwide network of wholesale and retail stores and gastronomic centres.

Within this structure, the National Nutritional Action Plan specified four types of destination for agricultural produce (other than self-provisioning): the ration organized by MINCIN; social feeding such as to hospitals and schools; industry and processing; and tourism. In addition, domestically produced goods also found their way onto the black market.

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