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increased to nearly 1 million pounds, with a value of approximately $25,000.
Malanga is also an important food crop in Cuba, with an area of 50,000 to 60,000 acres and a total consumption estimated at 300 million pounds annually. Malanga is a corm or bulblike plant, known in the United States as the ornamental elephant's-ear. It has
FIGURE 35.-Malanga is used for food, cooked like potatoes.
very large leaves borne on stems sprouting directly from the bulb or crown (fig. 35). In Cuba it is planted in gardens and fields, and, when mature, the bulbs are harvested and cooked like potatoes. The flesh is white when cooked, sometimes with a purplish border; and, like potatoes and yuca, it contains a very high proportion of starch.
Until the last several years Cuba produced very little of its requirements of vegetable oil. Imports during the 5 years 1936-40 averaged 47 million pounds annually in addition to large imports of lard and
some other animal fats. Olive oil for cooking was the most important imported vegetable oil for many years until the war in Spain reduced the supply and forced substitution. This also encouraged domestic production.
Vegetable-oil production in Cuba has had an interesting development. As early as 1927 experimental production of sunflower seed for oil was begun, and by 1933 its production had reached 5.5 million pounds of oil. However, from 1934 to 1937 the domestic industry was practically stopped as a result of heavy imports of cheaper oil from Japan under a reduced import duty. In 1937 the import duty that had worked to Japan's advantage was increased, and domestic production started again—but this time it was from peanuts rather than sunflower seeds.
Peanut-oil production increased rapidly from 1.2 million pounds in 1937 to between 10 and 15 million pounds in 1940 and 1941, having a value well in excess of 1 million dollars in the latter year. Plantings in 1940 were estimated at about 65,000 to 80,000 acres, with a production of 40 to 65 million pounds of peanuts. Peanuts are usually planted in April or May and harvested about 95 days later. Yields average 800 pounds per acre. The farm price is usually about $2.10 to $2.25 per hundred pounds, f. o. b. railway, but in April 1942 the price was fixed at $3.40 when delivered to the railway in quantities of not less than 30,000 pounds. Peanut-oil production in 1941 was equal to nearly 30 percent of Cuba's total vegetable-oil requirements. It will probably continue to increase and to replace more of the imported edible oils, but will probably not be able to replace certain of the inedible oils used for special purposes. Other potential sources of edible vegetable oil are soybeans and the African oil palm, although there is no commercial production of either at the present time.
Certain varieties of castor-beans appear to grow wild in Cuba, but these have no commercial value. Other varieties have been grown commercially on a small scale for several years, but the industry is still in an experimental stage. Present plantings in Cuba are variously estimated at from 500 to 1,000 acres. Only a small part is regularly harvested. Marketing facilities are poor, and consequently the growers have not been assured of an outlet for their crop at a reasonable price. The large white variety is most commonly grown (fig. 36). The crop is usually ready for harvest in 6 to 9 months after planting and again every 3 months thereafter for several years without replanting. There are no exact data as to yields, which are reported to vary widely and average nearly 1 ton per acre annually.
Nearly all of Cuba's castor-oil requirements, averaging about 350,000 pounds annually with a value of about $25,000, are imported. The oil is used largely for lubrication in the sugar mills, for the manufacture of paints, and for medicinal purposes. Since 1937 a castor-bean crushing factory has been in operation sporadically, but this plant supplies only a small part of Cuba's requirements. With further experimentation in castor-bean production, the establishment of permanent marketing channels, and improvement in facilities for crushing, Cuba would at least be able to supply all of its domestic requirements of castor oil. This would require possibly 350 acres of castor-beans having a 50-percent oil content.
Production of castor-beans might be developed on an export basis, but this development would depend upon improvement in production
Some castor-beans are grown on a commercial scale.
FIGURE 36. plant; B, spiny capsules of the castor-bean; C, mature capsules and castorbeans.
and marketing and more especially upon whether the beans can be grown profitably at prices that normally prevail on the export market. The United States requires large quantities of castor-beans. Imports averaging 170 million pounds in the 5 years 1936-40 have been almost entirely from Brazil. The average price of castor-beans delivered in New York (exclusive of duty) during the past 5 years varied from 1.45 cents to 2.5 cents per pound, or an average of about $46 per long ton.52
52 At one time in 1940, because of war conditions, New York prices rose to 4.5 cents a pound, and during the first half of 1942 were 4.5 cents.
Cuba's climate permits pasturing during all seasons of the year. This provides cheap feed, particularly for cattle, which are by far the most important kind of livestock. Large sections of the east-central part of the island consist of relatively poor land, suitable only for grazing. Large cattle ranches similar to those in the western part of the United States exist in these areas. Very little grain, hay, or any kind of feed other than pasture is fed to livestock in Cuba.
Remarkable development during the past decade or so has taken place in the cattle industry. Government aid, protective tariffs, improved breeding stock, and modern packing plants have transformed Cuba from a heavy importer of meat and dairy products to a position of self-sufficiency and even to a net exporter of beef and dairy products.
Although Cuba is not well adapted for hog production, this industry has also increased in the past 10 years to the extent of supplying most of the domestic demands for pork products, large quantities of which were formerly imported. Sheep are not important, but poultry production fully supplies domestic requirements. Hides and skins are an important item of export. The total value of exports of all kinds. of meat, dairy products, hides, and skins was 2.6 million dollars in 1940, and will be considerably greater in 1941.
The approximate numbers of the various kinds of livestock in Cuba are shown in table 52. These data are not necessarily accurate but serve to show the relative importance of the different kinds of livestock.
TABLE 52.-Livestock numbers in Cuba in years specified 1
1 Although the census is compiled from information obtained directly from the municipalities throughout the island, which keep registrations of livestock, there are many thousands of animals unregistered because of the negligence of owners. Furthermore, the censuses for the various yrars were not always taken in the same manner and therefore do not accurately reflect changes.
2 Year 1913.
3 Year 1934.
Practically all fieldwork and farm hauling is done by oxen. In 1940 there were 408,000 in Cuba, or about the same as the total number of horses. The sugar industry particularly depends upon oxen to move the entire cane crop from the fields to the railways or mills. For this work, six to eight oxen are usually hitched to a large, heavy two-wheeled cart. Oxen are well adapted to the heavy work and to the warm climate. Furthermore, they subsist almost entirely on pasture except during the cane-harvesting season, when they eat the cane tops and leaves left in the field.
HORSES, MULES, AND DONKEYS
Horses as a rule are used only for riding and provide the principal method of human transportation in rural areas where small farmers cannot afford more expensive transportation and where earth roads do not permit the use of automobiles or small-wheeled wagons during much of the year. Nearly every farmer has a horse or a mule to ride and to carry produce and groceries. They are used only occasionally for hauling. Horse breeding is not well organized. The native horses, although smaller than those in the United States, are hardy, gentle, easily supported, and, when crossed with good American stallions, produce excellent service animals.
Mules are used occasionally for light farm work, for hauling in towns, for riding, and especially for pack work. Donkeys are also used some for hauling, but particularly for pack trains in mountainous regions.
Cuba is now on a net-export basis for meat. At least three-fourths of Cuba's meat requirements, other than poultry, are supplied by beef and veal and about one-fourth by pork. The warm climate and the extensive natural pastures are excellent for cattle production but are not well adapted for the production of hogs. Consequently Cuba has a relatively larger number of cattle and a smaller number of hogs than does the United States-about 1.2 cattle per capita compared with about 0.5 in the United States and about 0.2 hog per capita compared with about 0.4 in the United States.
Productivity of livestock in Cuba is considerably lower than in the United States, particularly because breeds are not highly productive and because the animals are pasture-fed and not fattened. Total meat consumption is relatively low, estimated at about 50 to 60 pounds per capita compared with about 130 pounds in the United States. The warm climate and the low purchasing power contribute to the low meat consumption.
Cuba's meat industry, particularly the cattle industry, has developed tremendously during the past 15 years. From 1920 to about 1925, nearly 100 million pounds of meat were imported annually. Most of this consisted of jerked beef and salt pork. Since then Government protection in the form of higher tariffs and other measures, together with the necessity of conserving foreign exchange and finding alternative employment for those unemployed because of the decline in the sugar industry, has resulted in the development of the livestock industry to a point where meat was on a net-export basis for the first time in 1940. Beef is now exported, and pork imports have declined to only about 4 million pounds, compared with former imports of 40 to 65 million (see table 53). Cuba now has three large packing plants in Habana in addition to numerous small slaughter houses.