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March Saturday

Family Care System: where prices and quality must go hand in hand

The task of monetary reorganization launched in Cuba on January 1st this year reaches all social sectors and gives rise to diverse opinions, many of them related to the revision of approved procedures or regulations.

Perhaps the haste to comply with the new prices led those tasked with the process to overlook many details when deciding the amounts, and as the country's top authorities have pointed out, they did not consider the cost of some supplies from the previous year, nor did they taken into account that the increased prices must rely on values and quality levels for support, among other factors.

An example is what happened with the Family Care System program (SAF), which had to readjust prices and make arrangements to improve the offers to and provide food to low-income groups. While the system of gratuities and subsidies should be reorganized, in this specific case, the rise in prices has caused both concern and the departure of many beneficiaries on grounds that the prices are not consistent with the quality of the options.

During this month's governmental visit, headed by Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel, instructions were given to deal with the aforesaid quality problems, largely contingent on subjective factors, as prices are decided according to the cost stated by the supplier, which is high, and made even higher with the new prices. If the suppliers can’t lower the cost of goods, the sales costs will remain high.

Angel Piña Yordi, 79, says that the meals offered in one of the local SAF are still expensive. A cook for many years, he remarks that some solutions depend on the work of these systems, which charge their affiliates more for some foods than the regular price across the country.
To look at these and other problems, working groups were formed to control and inspect the SAF units—with emphasis on the weight and quality of the food so that the new approved costs are in line with the quality levels—and strengthen the agreements with producers, cooperatives and organoponics.

However, despite these measures, there are still unfavorable opinions.

It is imperative to coordinate efforts and decisions to deal with such a sensitive social program in order to provide more training and resources to SAF staffs and help them improve and diversify supply. Now more than ever before, in times of economic reorganization, our organizations, entities and people must work together for the benefit of a system designed for the most disadvantaged.

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