restricted access Experiment or Transition? Revisiting Food Distribution in Cuban Agromercados from the "Special Period"

In 1994, the Cuban government permitted the reopening of farmers' markets where surplus production was sold at market prices. This "experiment" was undertaken as a necessity in the "Special Period in Peacetime." Yet, today the agromercados are thriving, which indicates that this is not merely a temporary measure. Small private farmers supply a majority of products sold through the agromercados despite limited access to inputs. In 2009 it was announced that 45,500 new land grants would be made to private individuals to increase domestic food production, much of which will continue to be sold through the agromercados. This paper revisits empirical survey data collected in the agromercados one year after they were opened to examine collective and private producers' access to inputs and supply chain infrastructure. Recognition of the constraints faced by private producers will be important in ensuring that the recipients of the newly distributed lands are successful.