What’s in an Orange?
Cuba has encouraged foreign investments in agriculture. The Cuban citrus industry was started during the 1960’s to supply the former Soviet Union, as well as other socialist countries in Eastern Europe, with oranges and grapefruit. After the economic crash and the restructuring of the Soviet Union, the demand for citrus crops fell off by about half. In 1994, the National Citrus Corporation was founded in Cuba, and is now known as the “Fruit Trees Enterprise Group.” It consists of 13 nationally owned citrus enterprises, a commercial company and 4 processing plants. Cítricos Caribe S.A. has three cold storage facilities and exports to contracted foreign vendors. A Chilean venture and a Greek-British consortium, both affected by the decline of demand, halted their operations in 2014. However an Israel company has successfully developed huge citrus and tropical fruit plantations on the island, with most of their crops being sold in Europe. Israeli orange groves stretch for miles in the Matanzas Province, east of Havana. The province known chiefly for its white sandy beaches and resorts also has the massive BM Corporation, based in Tel Aviv, operating huge citrus groves and one of its packinghouses there. Its modern processing factory is located in the middle of 115,000 acres of groves. It is known as the world’s largest citrus operation.
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