The Los Pinos mini-processing plant produces the best guava paste distributed by Ceballos, and possibly the best in Cuba. The Los Pinos mini-processing plant produces the best guava paste distributed by Ceballos, and possibly the best in Cuba. Photo: Ortelio González Martínez

The socialist state enterprise is key to the country’s prosperity

The Ceballos Agroindustrial Combine in Ciego de Avila has been praised as an exemplary socialist state enterprise, having developed a complete production cycle from field to industry, increasing exports and offering quality products on the domestic market

Author: Ortelio González Martínez | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Published: February 25, 2020

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez has described the Ceballos Agroindustrial Combine in Ciego de Avila as an exemplary socialist state enterprise, praising it on several occasions for developing a complete production cycle from the fields to the industrial facility. But the company faces a very demanding challenge: creating productive links with other components of the Cuban economy.

To meet this goal, which the President has identified as a national objective, the enterprise has carefully designed a strategy to develop the process of collaboration among Cuban enterprises to improve the quality of products, not only for those destined for export but also for those sold on the island, and overcome the common idea that whatever sold within Cuban borders lacks quality.

Bringing a product of good quality to the market, one that meets export standards and can replace imports, must be a main objectives of all socialist enterprises, as the Cuban President has often pointed out.

Wilver Bringas Fernández, director of Ceballos, said that most investment projects currently underway seek to generate exports and income that can be invested in national production. Developing exportable lines also serves to diversify the national economy and the company’s sources of income.

INVESTMENT TO DEVELOP PRODUCTION

Given the priority of developing a sustainable food supply and acquiring foreign exchange to continue developing national production, the enterprise was chosen for a national pilot project affording it export capacity, the final stage of the productive process, under Resolution 327 of 2018 of the Minister of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, which granted the enterprise the authority to independently manage its foreign trade activities on a permanent basis.

It was not too long before the words turned into action and today the Agroindustrial Company Ceballos exports under the trademark Dcballos, functioning as an integrated industry including mini-industrial plants and cooperatives, allowing the combine to export their products to the international market with all required quality and permits.

This export center is also part of the productive chain. The Ceballos agroindustrial combine also collaborates with the agricultural companies La Cuba, Arnaldo Ramirez and Cubasoy, the state’s Soil and Plant Health departments, Maximo Gomez Baez University and the Bioplanta seedling center. Together, they generate revenue of more than nine million pesos in freely convertible currency, led by Ceballos. Marabou charcoal alone yielded almost seven million pesos.

Today, this productive chain includes other organizations, which are strong on their own, broadening the scope of production: the Major General Ignacio Agramonte mechanical plant in Camagüey; the Comandante Ernesto Che Guevara Military Industrial Company in Villa Clara; Cuba Catering, S.A. (specialized in catering services, supplies products for sale and service aboard, aircraft, as well as interior conditioning); and La Estancia, S.A., a wholly Cuban-owned company affiliated with Cuba Ron, S.A. and the Ministry of Food Industry.

Bringas talks about strategy and ways of doing things: "When citrus fruit disappeared (due to HLB greening disease), we began to diversify production and invest in the industry. There was a well-designed plan to develop fruit groves in the province and we were obliged to do the same with our industry. Over the last 18 years, for example, the Ceballos basic enterprise unit (UEB) made investments amounting to 21 million pesos, the highest for any organization in the province.”

The completion of two new lines, one to process pineapple and another to fill Doy packs, plus the operation of ten others, show how workers here have made the investment worthwhile.

For Rodolfo Morales Perez, director of the industrial UEB, the results are those of a technological culture, of "always doing something new related to development and the productive chain".

Everything, however, is not so rosy. Although Ceballos does not face technological obsolesce like other industries, they have been greatly affected by the lack of packaging to guarantee quality and the durability of products, a fundamental problem in the company’s current strategy.

While 60 years ago, exports only went to the United States, today marabou charcoal is sold in several European countries - the star product that provided the funds needed to finance recapitalization and improvements in the production of other products, including juice concentrate, hot peppers, aseptic mango puree and sulphated papaya, among others.

Also exported are products from 17 mini processing plants, which bring income to the company's coffers and to those of the region's farmers.

EVERYONE WINS

Emerio Pino Rodriguez considers the productive chain a blessing. Today, he is the head of one of the best positioned mini-industry in the area, where his father Emerio Sr. and mother Maria Delia produce bars of guava paste, with a palette and a cauldron on top of a wood-fed fire.

“The company sells us ingredients, provides training, inspects to ensure food safety, and we sell them the finished product. It's a kind of exchange in which everyone wins.”

When asked, Alexánder, Martincito, Cobito, Yoanki and many others working with the Ceballos Agroindustrial Enterprise give the same answer.

The company has much to its credit, including national and international certifications that allow it to be recognized in any area of the international or domestic market. In 2018, for example, for the fifth consecutive time, Ceballos won a Gold Medal for Quality at the Havana International Fair with its hot chili pepper, the Habanero variety, and again at the 2019 event with its marabou charcoal.

To position oneself in the international market and maintain productive chains is a difficult task. Determination, knowledge and financing are needed to support logistical resources such as transportation, packaging, technology, and an open mind for the implementation of science and innovation.

DCballos, more than a leader in the production of fruit pulp and juice, marabou charcoal, fresh vegetables, grains, vegetables, and livestock, is a socialist state enterprise, with more than 11,000 hectares in operation, which at the end of last year, managed to export fresh mango to Europe for the first time; a company that does not abandon its production base of small farmers; a company with a view to the future and prosperity based on no other chain than the productive one.

 

Source: granma.cu