Cuban Entrepreneurs Find Innovative Solutions in the Midst of Food Crisis

Local businesses like Bacoretto are using locally-sourced ingredients to produce gluten-free flour, offering a glimpse into Cuba’s growing food crisis.

As Cuba grapples with a deepening food crisis exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. sanctions, and a decline in tourism, entrepreneurs like Gabriel Perez are finding innovative ways to address the country’s food shortage. Perez, the founder of Bacoretto, a family-run business on the outskirts of Havana, is producing gluten-free flour from locally-sourced ingredients such as banana, coconut, and yucca. This article explores the challenges faced by Cuba’s food industry, the rise of small businesses like Bacoretto, and the potential for sustainable solutions to alleviate the country’s food crisis.

1: A Crisis Rooted in Culture and Availability

Despite Cuba’s rich agricultural resources, the country relies heavily on imported food due to a lack of infrastructure and machinery for large-scale production. The preference for imported rice, pork, and beans has contributed to the current crisis, as the country struggles to meet the demands of its population. Gabriel Perez believes that a lack of cultural appreciation for local foods plays a significant role in exacerbating the crisis.

2: Bacoretto’s Innovative Approach

Bacoretto stands as a shining example of how Cuban entrepreneurs are adapting to the food crisis. By drying and milling yucca, rice, banana, and coconut, Bacoretto produces organic flour that caters to gluten-intolerant consumers. Additionally, the byproducts of their processes are utilized to create coconut oil, coconut-fiber rope, vinegar, and fermented products. While Bacoretto currently operates on a small scale, its success highlights the potential for sustainable and locally-sourced food production in Cuba.

3: Challenges Faced by Cuban Entrepreneurs

Despite the lifting of the ban on private companies in 2021, Cuban entrepreneurs like Gabriel Perez still face numerous challenges. Access to financing remains a hurdle, as the cash-strapped country struggles to support small businesses. The need for improved technological capacity and machinery further complicates the situation. While thousands of small businesses have emerged since the ban was lifted, persistent issues with infrastructure, supply, and workforce continue to hinder their growth and profitability.

4: The Path to a Sustainable Food System

The emergence of businesses like Bacoretto highlights the potential for a more sustainable and self-sufficient food system in Cuba. By prioritizing locally-sourced ingredients and innovative production methods, these entrepreneurs offer a glimmer of hope in the face of the country’s food crisis. However, to fully realize this potential, Cuba must address the challenges faced by small businesses, including access to financing and technological advancements.


Cuba’s food crisis has prompted entrepreneurs like Gabriel Perez to seek innovative solutions to address the country’s growing food shortage. Businesses like Bacoretto demonstrate the potential for locally-sourced and sustainable food production in Cuba. However, to overcome the challenges faced by small businesses, the government must prioritize support for financing, infrastructure, and technological advancements. By doing so, Cuba can pave the way for a more resilient and self-sufficient food system that benefits both its economy and its people.






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