Agroindustrial Ceballos, at the pace of life
In the midst of economic adjustments and times of pandemic, life goes on. And at the Ceballos Agroindustrial Enterprise, in the province of Ciego de Avila, they are overcoming the obstacles and making the decisions that correspond to each moment with their sights set on doing what they do best: processing fruits, vegetables and tubers.
Considered the only one of its kind in the central region of Cuba, the company has modern technology for processing agricultural products, including a washing machine with pressure rinsing, sieves, evaporation, pasteurization and sterilization systems, aseptic packaging for frozen products and for precooking, freezing and immediate packaging of tubers, as in the case of pre-fried potatoes; and a thermoforming machine for bars and mini-doses.
The company’s executives indicate that in the last decade one of its priorities has been to invest in technological expansion and modernization, which has enabled it to triple its fruit and vegetable processing volumes, diversify its product portfolio and, at the same time, improve the quality and safety of its products.
Like any other food processing industry, Ceballos’s industrial processing equipment is made of stainless steel, while the infrastructure is designed to allow adequate cleaning and disinfection of the machines, which guarantees that each of the products is safe. To this end, a specific food safety system (HAACP) covers the entire process, from raw materials, materials and personnel, as well as a qualified team to deal with changes and modernizations.
He who sows his corn…
Part of its development is in the field. With an estate of 11,000 hectares (ha), some 4,568 are planted with fruit trees, mainly mango (3,030 ha), guava (797), coconut (222) and pineapple (114). Other species include avocado, mamey, custard apple, tamarind, soursop, Chinese plum and canistel.
The pineapple development program continues in Ceballos’ lands, with different evaluations of more resistant varieties that are better adapted to climatic conditions, in collaboration with the bioplant center of the University of Ciego de Avila and the biofactory of the Seed Company. The objective is to recover the large productions of the queen of fruits, so that yields are increased and there are quality products for the various destinations: population, industry, tourism and exports, in order to generate income that allow the sustainability of the technology.
For 2021, the entity’s planting program plans to plant 322 hectares, which will be implemented as part of the spring campaign and for which it has quality seedlings, obtained in cultivation houses and technified nurseries, as explained to the local press Osvadys Estrada Rodríguez, director of production of the entity.
With the new times
According to reports from the production entity, the Unidad Empresarial de Base (UEB) Producción de Vegetales incorporates the giant cundiamor to its export portfolio, which already includes habanero chili, turmeric, eggplant and bell pepper.
The company, considered a leader in the productive and exporting pole of Ciego de Avila, sells high quality products to different markets, from North America to Europe. Among its exportable products are aseptic and concentrated mango pulps, aseptic banana and guava purees and concentrated white grapefruit and sulphited pump fruit juices.
In response to the economic-social strategy to boost the economy and face the world crisis caused by Covid-19, last year Ceballos marketed several of its products to the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZED) and to the joint ventures Moa Nickel S.A. and Minera del Caribe (Emincar).
On the other hand, it also supplied part of its products to Cuba Catering, an entity specialized in catering services and for sale on board airplanes, and to the juice and nectar manufacturer La Estancia.
At the beginning of the year, the implementation of the Ordering Task (TO) turned the Ceballos Agroindustrial Company upside down, which ended January with a loss of 4,000,000 pesos. It turns out that the increase in the purchase prices of fruits, inputs and services such as electricity, water and fuel, made several of the productions unprofitable, including export products such as pineapple and citrus, which are expensive to produce.
The increase in the prices of final products then generated great dissatisfaction among consumers. According to national media, the decrease in production costs, together with the correction in the implementation of
the TO premises, made possible a significant reduction in wholesale prices, which would translate into a reduction in the retail network.
Based on the review of the producers’ proposals, it was decided to reduce electricity and water tariffs, which would have an impact on the adjustment of costs and would determine that they would continue producing those items of interest for the country and also for their finances, without generating losses.
According to Alba Elizabeth González Rodríguez, general manager of the company, by the end of February, profits were higher than the losses of January, mainly due to the search for alternatives to obtain profits. In the course of the year, as an expected result of the TO, the company would advance in the paths to be followed to stimulate and increase productivity and maintain profitability, in a context where the true cost of things comes into play in the equation.
Agroindustrial Ceballos faces the challenge of adapting to the new circumstances and defending its well-earned position, in which its DCballos seal was synonymous with quality and preference in the Cuban market and beyond.