Leonides Serrano Escobar, a young man who left his name aside in his relationships with relatives, friends and colleagues from the Eliseo Reyes credit and services cooperative, is very happy with the Urban Farm of the municipality of Las Tunas.
Las Tunas, Cuba.- “There are very few who call me by my name. Most know me by 'Manzano', a nickname that is due to the ingenuity of a cousin of mine, for some banana fruit that we ate without the permission of the adults when we were kids.”
“But it doesn't bother me. I am adapted and I even like to be called that way.”
And with equal carelessness, he receives the reporters who visit him on sunny noon, when he had just arrived from the farm, because “I have to deliver tomatoes this afternoon. That is one of the crops that I have now, and we are at harvest time.
“I am usufructuary and I have an area in good condition, which I share between livestock and fruit plantations, more or less three hectares of mango. I take advantage of all the spaces and, among the trees, I intersperse yucca, tomato, spring onion, and beans.
“I have about 30 thousand plants of tomatoes and I have already delivered more than 50 quintals. I am very happy, really. It depends on the variety, but the price is quite acceptable. The Urban Farm brings me the boxes and everything flows normally, as it should be.”
Little by little, "Manzano" feels confident and reveals dissatisfaction that was left behind since he strengthened ties with the Urban Farm and his words refer to a daily problem that today worries and affects the pockets of the population, especially workers.
“I feel great satisfaction for handing over the productions to the State. The prices are altered in the street; it is abusive to give 20.00 pesos for a pound of tomatoes. I do not sell them on the outside and I have received many proposals. I always help some people, with a certain situation.
“In other words, I like that whoever comes to my house leaves happy. All this gives me joy and also, the peace of mind of not asking for problems.
“My thing is to produce. I was asked for beets and I answered that I had no seeds. They already bring them to me, so soon there will be beets in these lands.”
This young man, who lives in the vicinity of the Becerra community, also develops livestock and there are 10 cows in his herd, whose milk is delivered entirely to the Dairy Industry.
“On average, I collect between 20 and 25 liters every day but I have managed to deliver 50 to 60 liters. That depends on how hard the drought is.”
Incredibly, "Manzano" does not grow animal feed, only a little for the calves, which are the most vulnerable. Even his cows are fat and no beef has died. He has secrets.
“The most important thing is to have only the cattle that the amount of land allows. That is scientifically proven. It is also elementary that they do not lack water. My animals live with grass, nothing else; but I veil to prevent cows from giving birth in the dry season because it destroys them and so they give little milk, and the calves get skinny.”
Being the son of peasants, born and raised in a rural area, he reflects the nobility of the men of the countryside. Every time his cooperative has asked for it, there is his selfless contribution, the same for a maternal home or to sell products to his neighbors. He was taught that way and nothing will change it.