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    Cuba's booming private restaurants cause "bread crisis" 2011-03-22 14:17:48

    HAVANA, March 21 (Xinhua) — Cuba's rapidly growing number of small
    private restaurants has forced the government to reorganize private
    bread production, a state-run daily necessity in Cuba, Cuban daily
    Granma said Monday.

    "The discrepancy between bread supply and demand in the country is
    exacerbated by the growing demand from private food processors who have
    acquired self-employment licenses in recent months," the newspaper said.

    Bread in Cuba is sold only in state-run stores, and the supply is now
    considered "insufficient" to meet the demand of the Cubans, as demands
    from an increasing number of private restaurants and fast food outlets
    are making the "bread crisis" worse.

    From March 1 to date, Cuban authorities estimated that in Havana alone,
    up to 9,779 people have opened private restaurants and cafes.

    "Clearly the only solution is to increase the production to meet all
    requirements," the newspaper said, adding the bread supply on the island
    is still "complex."

    Every Cuban has the right to acquire one loaf of bread per day at a
    subsidized price through a food rationing program, but in recent years
    the government has also opened up establishments where bread is sold
    freely in Cuban pesos, together with shops and candy stores that sell
    goods and food in foreign currencies.

    Cuba's state-owned bread company Cadena Cubana del Pan reported an
    increase in daily bread production from 25 tons in 2010 to 33 tons,
    while the demand this year is expected to grow by 52 percent.

    The new production plan is "insufficient," and to meet the growing
    demand it is necessary to "rescue" the capability of the bakeries to
    make their own bread, the company's director Gloria Rodriguez said.

    The Cuban authorities said they will make sure all measures are taken to
    meet the growing demand for bread.

    Cuban leader Raul Castro recently announced that the ruling Communist
    Party will hold its first congress since 1997 in the second half of
    April, and the reform of Cuba's economic model will be the central theme
    of the congress. The Cuban government currently controls 85 percent of
    the island's economy.

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