Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC


FL301359 Havana Television Service in Spanish 0033 GMT 30 May 84

[Speech by President Fidel Castro at a ceremony commemorating the 20th
anniversary of Los Naranjos Livestock Breeding Enterprise in Havana
Province on 29 May -- recorded]

[Text] Dear comrades, I am not going to give a speech because what could be
said about this enterprise and this anniversary has already been said, and
said very well, with great tact, many encouraging results. I think that
Comrade Pepe and Comrade Adolfo have expressed it all very eloquently. Of
course, it appears that Adolfo thought his speech was very long, and he
took out a couple of pages. I was sorry he did and told him so because they
contained such interesting and encouraging data that I think he should not
have shortened his speech. [laughter] It is going to be published, possibly
in TRIBE DE LA HABANA and in TRABAJADORES so we will have the opportunity
to read what he did not say here to save just a few minutes.

On this 20th anniversary, I only want to say that I support what has been
said here and give my deepest and most sincere congratulations to all the
workers, technicians, cadres, and managers of this enterprise for the
successes they have achieved. In all truth -- as has already been stated
here -- a true feat has been performed here. You only have to recall what
this enterprise, this area, was like: It has already been said that there
was only one little farm of 70-odd hectares that belonged to a large
landowner, etc. Adolfo has explained that 2 years after the Agrarian Reform
Law was passed, this landowner's turn came up [to surrender land] and the
state took over his property, and that was the beginning of the development
of this plan. It was a unit based on outmoded ideas; milking machines may
possibly have been used. Were they? [no response is heard] He must have
been the only large landowner around here who had milking machines.
[laughs] What a coincidence!

Anyway, we were talking about the date this plan got started. I seem to
recall that I visited this unit amost immediately after it was taken over
by the Agrarian Reform, maybe in 1981-82-83. [dates as heard] But there is
no written record of this. What is certain is that after 1964 a plan was
drawn up. I remember that the first imported cows were brought here. They
were expensive cows, big producers. We had the problem of acclimating them;
30 percent of the cows died during acclimation. It was terrible because
they were full grown, high producers. And with our climate, many died. The
first thing we did was to install air conditioning for the cows. This was
one of the first things that had to be done, and this was done after a few
years of experience. When the air conditioners were installed, the death
rate dropped. But the death rate also dropped because we had more
experience, more technicians, more cadres, etc. It would be interesting to
know how many veterinarians, how many agronomists we had when this plan was

Later on, we found a better way to do things because we had to import
thousands of head of cattle. And we discovered that the trick was to import
them when they were very young, from 7 to 10 months old, or 11 months, but
less than I year old. Special pastures were designated for receiving these
animals. And the death rate dropped without air conditioning because there
was no way to provide air conditioning for thousands of head of cattle.
This method, together with experience -- the method of importing very young
cows -- greatly improved their acclimatization and reduced extraordinarily
the number of cows dying because of acclimatization problems.

During that period, we classified cows in three groups: A, B, and C. In the
A group were those which were 40 percent above the average for the breed.
In the B group were those that were up to 40 percent above the average. And
in the C group were those that were average or above the average for the
breed, because no animals were ever bought whose mothers were below the
average for the breed. Following these guidelines, in a few years about
30,000 head of cattle were imported. They were of different breeds because
we imported all the breeds to try them out, but they were principally
Holstein. Air conditioning was even installed at other units.

At Nina Bonita, a complete dairy was air conditioned to determine the
difference in the milk production of cows living at normal temperatures and
cows that had air conditioning. It was demonstrated that there was a
difference but not a great difference. Then we decided that what we needed
was cows that produced a lot of milk while living under our climatological
conditions rather than cows that produced a lot of milk with air
conditioning. Because we observed that there were Holstein cows that
produced a lot more milk than others despite the heat, we decided that if
we selected these cows -- those that produced more milk under the
conditions of our climate, more milk, more fat -- then we could start
developing a new breed through this process of selection. And this is how
the idea of the tropical Holstein came about, together with other breeds
that we have been developing and that are partially developed now. This is
how the F-1, the F-2, the five-eighths, the two-eighths Cebu were all
developed; in short, the different breeds we developed.

There was not land here. The best land had to be used for other purposes,
for producing citrus crops, for example. And the worst land - the rockiest
-- was what was left for cattle raising. We had the idea of land
reclamation. We reclaimed land by taking soil from quarries and dams and
other sites and spreading it over bad land. This was really a soil creation
project because the animals, by eating and producing organic waste, also
help to build up the soil.

Resources were assigned until this plan really got going, the house
construction brigade, the road building brigade, the dairy construction
brigade, the irrigation system brigade, in short, everything. This was done
not only in Los Naranjos. This was done at more than 10 enterprises in
Havana Province. It was also done at some inland sites, such as the Tablon
Enterprise, the enterprises near the Escambray Mountains, and the ones
built in Sancti Spiritus and Camaguey.

We had such a well-coordinated investment plan that it is a shame it was
not carried out, because everything falls in place -- bulldozing, land
reclamation, road building, the construction of irrigation systems, and the
construction of housing and dairies. During that period we made great
progress, Later, for one reason or another, progress in some plans
decreased. The different kinds of work were not done simultaneously. At Los
Naranjos we persisted longer in that kind of effort and that is how such
amazing results were achieved: 96 dairies where there had been only 1 -- it
grew almost one hundredfold -- 89 of which are in production. Milk
production has increased more than one hundredfold in this area. The number
of head of cattle also increased more than one hundredfold. Everything grew
more than one hundredfold here! Of course, many others... [changes thought]
If we consider the East Havana Genetic Plan, it also possibly grew more
than one hundredfold. If we consider the Nina Bonita area, it also grew
this much in the different plans because, in general, the province as a
whole had increased milk production seven or eight times since 1970, as far
as I can remember, the province as a whole. We made a big effort throughout
the country.

But we do not have to dwell on what we have done. Livestock breeding still
needs a lot of work. In recent years, we have had problems. Among others,
we have had to assign thousands and thousands of caballerias to cane
plantations and this land has been lost for grazing. We have had to assign
areas for reforestation, etc., and for other crops. The area available for
livestock breeding had been reduced. This makes it necessary for dairies to
practice intensive farming, very intensive farming, and demands a great
developmental and investment effort.

We have had problems with bulldozing -- shortages of bulldozers --
throughout Cuba. We have had wire shortages, equipment shortages, we have
had problems planting the crops -- they have not always been planted as
carefully as necessary. All these things have been studied and analyzed to
give a greater thrust to livestock breeding in the future, especially
national livestock, than it has received in the past few years. Something
else: It was decided to buy the bulldozers and machinery we needed for
bulldozing operations and land cultivation. We are studying the types of
equipment, implements, and plows, the sowing methods we should apply, and
all the resources needed to make a great effort because during these years,
[we have had] certain shortages. We have been short of feed and
fertilizers. We have been short of fodder also. And all of this is
reflected in one way or another on the increases in meat and milk
production, which have been smaller than they should have been.

All this is being studied because, despite all that has been done, we still
have to wage the livestock breeding battle, convert it to intensive farming
practices, and identify all the problems that affect it. We have recently
been studying the queston of genetics. This is not easy because, whenever
genetics are discussed, there are a lot of thinkers, genetic philosophers,
and we really want to build on the experience we have acquired, the results
we have achieved. And here, at this center, we have learned a lot. We have
learned how a Holstein can produce beef -- it is a tremendous beef animal,
for example, when we cross one with a Cebu. I would not say this about a
young cow but about a cow that has had at least one calf. We have examples
here of how much the calf of a Holstein by a Cebu grew, to the extreme of
gaining a weight of 1,500 lbs in 1 year, which no other breed or crossbreed
achieves. They are very strong and are good for both milk and meat

We are going to continue to develop and specialize in milk cows as a
general rule. We are going to use part of the dairy herds for beef
production, even in Havana Province, even in an enterprise like this one.
How? By culling out the cows that produce less milk. We are not interested
in keeping cows that produce less milk. If we have many other cows that
produce more milk that can be used to replace the low producers, why should
we breed the low producers? This would be genetic selection done backwards.
We are going to select the best milk producers to use them for breeding and
building up the herds of milk cows. And those that are poor milk
producers...[changes thought] Let us consider the Cebu. If it is a male we
will fatten it up. If it is a cow, we will use it for reproduction. That
F-1, even if it is the calf of a Holstein that does not produce a lot of
milk, will still produce a lot more than a Cebu cow and will suckle its
calf. Of course, this requires record keeping, an effort, painstaking care,
but we have already talked about this.

What are we going to do, in which areas are we going to continue to use
Holsteins for breeding purposes, in which areas are we going to begin to
use the five-eighths for breeding to take advantage of what we have gained
during these years, in which areas are we going to use the F-2?

All this is being studied to give a thrust to the growth of Cuban livestock
herds, to give a thrust to meat production at the same time that we
continue to build up milk production -- with better and better animals and
more specialized breeding stations. The animals are going to be improved.
For example, in Naranjos -- according to data I have here -- 13.8, 13.9,
almost 14 liters of milk are produced daily at the maximum. Now, why is not
this figure higher? Because these have been years of impetuous growth, of
eight or 10 new dairies each year. It has not been possible to be very
selective. If we had created one or two instead of eight or 10, it would
have been possible to cull out the cows that produced less milk and replace
them with cows born of the highest producing cows, and we would have a
higher average. When this plan has been completed, when it has 100-odd
dairies or 130-odd, and is no longer growing at the same rate, it will be
possible to make a much better selection and increase the average milk
production per cow. Because although 14 may seem to be a big number, I am
sure that this enterprise will reach 15, 16, 17, and it is not an
exaggeration to say that in the future it can produce an average of up to
20 liters daily. There are units in which good selection has been done,
averaging 20 liters daily.

Because growth is so great that almost all cows go into production, a good
selection cannot be made. We now have to be more selective in our dairy
herds And we have to select genetically bearing in mind the characteristics
of each area, because different areas have different conditions. Some have
worse conditions, are hotter, others are cooler and have better conditions.
And for this reason I ask all the comrades and enterprise directors that
are here today to pay special attention to all these ideas we are going to
apply in the future that have been taken from experience.

More selection and higher standards are necessary. I am sure we will
achieve good results. It is not reasonable to inseminate a poor milk
producer with pure Holstein. It is much better to inseminate her with a
beef animal and get a calf which will serve for meat production or for
breeding purposes. We will inseminate 70 or 80 percent of the herd with
pure Holstein when we have culled out those cows that should not be used to
produce milk cows. Is my idea clear? We will achieve this although it will
require more record-keeping, more care. Mistakes in the selection of the
bull must not be made. You must not breed a good cow with a Cebu and a bad
cow with a Holstein. As you well know, this requires an effort.

This is going to be accompanied by a special national effort to provide all
the resources that the livestock sector needs for all the bulldozing and
crop-sowing operations required. We have to make a leap forward in coming
years, and this requires a special effort. It is for this reason that,
coinciding with this anniversary and this ceremony, the ministry met with
the leaders of all the livestock enterprises.

Two years ago, Los Naranjos was declared a model enterprise at a similar
act held, I believe, in April 1982. I repeat that Los Naranjos is not the
only enterprise. There are many enterprises in Havana Province and in other
provinces too that have reached a very high level, although milk cattle are
much more developed in Havana Province. On that occasion, we suggested that
a book be published on the history of Los Naranjos. This book has been
published and is very attractive. I think this book is a world-class book.
[applause] The data included in the book are of interest not only to Cuban
livestock raisers, but also to livestock raisers of Latin America and the
world. We asked Pepe to write the book but although he worked hard on the
book, he found it more satisfactory to get together a team of writers. For
this reason, the book has several authors.

The comrades of the Ministry of Culture took pains with the printing, with
full-color plates. I think this experience is of great value and usefulness
for all livestock breeders. It is the first book that we have published
based on the experience and work of an enterprise. I believe this must
serve as an incentive for the entire livestock breeding sector to write its
history and to present data on the date each was founded, its original
installations, its activities.

There are other places, and other enterprises can write their histories.
And if not a full book with color plates, a less luxurious book or at least
a pamphlet could be published with the history of each of the livestock
enterprises, because their history is of great value for future and present
generations. I think all the workers must feel great satisfaction and take
great pride -- the workers of this enterprise, for example -- when they see
their work over a period of 20 years reflected in a book. I think it should
also serve as an incentive so that in every enterprise someone will take
charge of collecting and compiling the historical data of the enterprise so
that each will have its own history. We must remember that these 130-odd
enterprises that produce milk and meat, that fatten and breed livestock,
etc., are the base on which livestock raising must be developed in the
future. And we have to do a good job. I see here many men hardened by
experience and time.

I know how our livestock breeders have learned, how they began, with a lot
of good will and revolutionary spirit but with little experience or
knowledge. You were not engineers but, in the future, your successors may
be engineers with a lot more training. There is no doubt that the 20 years
that almost all of you have worked in livestock breeding have given you a
lot of experience, a lot of knowledge. You have proven this in your
struggle against all kinds of difficulties because we know that there have
been, are, and will be difficulties. But you have acquired a lot of
experience. You are men who have been hardened by work, who know what work
is. You now have the help, the advice, the support of hundreds of engineers
and veterinarians in every part of Cuba.

I remember when there was not a single inseminator. We had to create
several schools for inseminators. There was not a single engineer in the
livestock breeding plans, not a single veterinarian. There was nothing.
Nowadays we have a lot of very experienced people. The revolution as a
whole has a lot more experience and knows better what it can and should do,
and there are great possibilities. But this generation of livestock
breeders still has to win the livestock breeding battle, which is one of
the most difficult.

Other areas have received more resources. Sugarcane has received more
resources, much more land, etc., to the detriment of livestock breeding. We
still do not have sufficient fertilizer and we know it. Many things have
been invented -- the use of bagasse from sugarcane, even the use of scum
[cachaza]. Personnel were recently assigned to collect the scuff from all
the mills in Havana Province. It is necessary to use everything.

Research centers are working at the ICA [Institute of Animal Science],
especially searching for new forms of food, and they have experimented with
transforming sugarcane -- that's right, cane -- into a high-protein food
via an industrial process, and with transforming citrus fruit pulp. There
are possibilities showing up in this research but there are still no
physical achievements. They are things we will have in the future.

Therefore, it is now necessary to make a special effort in the area of
fodder for the animals. We know the number of caballerias that are sown
each year, what condition the land is in when the planting is done, the
amount of land that is used and wasted. We have to work on all of our weak
points in the next few years.

I believe that you should all aspire to those goals -- not only should each
enterprise write its history, but it should also aspire to achieving the
status of model enterprise. Eight or 5 years ago, Los Naranjos was not yet
a model enterprise -- the model enterprise movement did not even exist. Los
Naranjos has now been a model enterprise for 3 consecutive years. I believe
that one of the goals that every director of a cattle enterprise should
adopt is to turn his enterprise into a model enterprise. We know very well,
we are not unaware that Los Naranjos has had more resources. But we must
keep sight of the resources we have and how we are distributing and
assigning them in order to give more to each enterprise. Within its own
material conditions, each enterprise can aspire to be a model enterprise.
Now Los Naranjos Enterprise is attempting to become a standard-bearing
enterprise, which it will do if it manages to be a model enterprise for 5
consecutive years. We hope it succeeds and that this center establishes a
tradition of being a model enterprise and standard-bearing enterprise
forever. And I believe that all cattle enterprises should have as their
goal to become members of the model enterprise movement.

When one remembers what there was here -- weeds, rocks, poverty -- and sees
what it has become today, one can clearly appreciate, as Adolfo [Diaz
Suarez] said, that with the effort of our workers, of our technicians, of
our cadres, of our masses -- with conscious effort, with revolutionary
effort -- anything can be accomplished. Of that there is no doubt. It is
possible that 20 years ago, no one would have imagined an enterprise like
this one -- absolutely no one could have imagined what this enterprise
would be today and [Castro laughs] what it is going to be in the future
because this enterprise is not finished yet. It lacks more than 30 dairies
and breeding centers. There are many hectares of land yet to be recovered
and a great deal of cropland to be irrigated. There is much work to be
done, many barns and breeding centers to be built. And, in the future when
all this is finished, there will be a better selection of animals and who
knows what this enterprise will be in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years. The
imagination can make an idea a reality.

No one here has mentioned that the first breeding of buffalo has begun.
Buffalo did not exist in Cuba earlier. The first commercial buffalo are
being raised. A little buffalo milk is also being produced. Not only that,
but yogurt is being produced from that milk -- different types of yogurt
which are being sold in the diplomats supermarket [diplomercado] and are
producing some foreign currency. Buffalo yogurt is also being sold in the
downtown supermarket. Not only have the first buffalo been brought here and
acclimated, but the first milk is being produced, processed industrially,
and put on the market. There are many lowlands here -- almost swamps --
which are not suitable for raising Holsteins and are barely suitable for
raising zebus, but they are suitable for raising buffalo. I am referring to
the true buffalo because earlier here, they called Cebus buffalo. But no
indeed, the buffalo is one thing and the zebu is another. All the cattlemen
know that, right? I do not know if all the citizens of this country know

Finally, we are convinced that we can achieve what we propose. Therefore,
we take this occasion, this beautiful date, this encouraging and
stimulating 20th anniversary of the founding of Los Naranjos to issue a
call, an exhortation, to all cattle enterprises in the country to make a
special effort and to adopt all measures throughout the country which will
permit us to victoriously wage the battle of the cattle industry. I believe
that should be the main fruit of this anniversary event; [applause] the
pledge of the cattle workers to turn all the enterprises in the country
into enterprises like Los Naranjos.

Fatherland or death.  We will win.