The Spanish company Mercasa and the Ministry of Domestic Trade (MINCIN) have signed an agreement for a feasibility study. The study will analyze the practicalities of establishing a central supply market in Havana.
Francis Herrera, first vice president of the Group of Wholesale Food Companies of Cuba, a division of MINCIN, and Macarena Olona, general secretary of Mercasa, signed the agreement. The ceremony was attended by Cuba’s Minister of Interior Commerce, Mary Blanca Ortega, and the Spanish ambassador to Cuba, Juan José Buitrago.
The agreement will be the first collaborative project between MINCIN and Spain. The study is scheduled to be completed within eight months with a budget of €640,000. It is expected to establish the foundations of a central food market to supply fresh meat, fish and produce in Havana. Currently, Cuba’s cuentapropistas (entrepreneurs) do not have access to wholesale markets and must purchase non-discounted food supplies from the same stores as private citizens .
Mercasa, established in 1966, is a market leader in Spain’s burgeoning wholesale food production industry. As such, Mercasa has achieved a solid reputation in Spain’s domestic food markets from the raw materials level to marketing and distribution.
The bilateral agreement between Mercasa and Cuba will help modernize the wholesale foods industry in Havana. The presence of high-ranking government officials during the signing ceremony is a strong indication of the importance of this agreement.
With the help of a strong and established partner, the Cuban Ministry is looking forward to modernization and increasing trade, particularly in the realm of food production and distribution.
International observers view the bilateral agreement as further evidence of stronger ties between Spain and Cuba. The Mercasa deal is a move towards modernization of its wholesale markets for the private sector with the goal of more efficient distribution and supply and reducing reliance on food imports.