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Cuba envisages greater role for farm cooperatives in economic development

04-26-2012 15:18 BJT

HAVANA, April 25 (Xinhua) -- Cuba's farm cooperatives, which have been a driving force for the country's agricultural development, should be allowed a role in other spheres of the economy, officials told an international forum in Havana.

At the three-day 8th International Congress of Agricultural Law which will conclude in the Cuban capital on Thursday, Roy Ramon Philippon, president of the Cuban Society of Agrarian Law, said Cuba is taking a closer look at cooperatives to see how they can be applied in areas as well as in agriculture.

The Cuban government now plans to extend the role of cooperatives to other fields including food production.

Cuba's Socialist Constitution, in force since 1976, stipulates the establishment of cooperatives. "Due to misinterpretation, they (cooperatives) were only applied in agriculture," Philippon told the first day of the forum.

Marino Murillo, vice president of the Council of Ministers, recently

came up with a policy on the experimental creation of "non-agricultural cooperatives," envisaged in a reform program of Cuban leader Raul Castro designed to renovate the island's socialist economic model.

Since taking office in 2008, Castro has introduced a series of reform measures to make the economy "more dynamic." As part of the reforms, Castro has promoted private initiative, removed decades-old bans on the sale of vehicles and houses, and loosened restrictions on cellphone ownership.

The number of the self-employed has exceeded 370,000 in Cuba and authorities expect the figure to surpass half a million by the end of 2012.

Authorities say they want to see the "non-state sector provide about 50 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the next 5 years."

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

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