Cuban authorities have authorized independent farmers to sell directly to hotels and tourist-oriented restaurants.

Until now, private growers have had to go through a state-run distributor to supply those businesses. State-run agribusinesses and farm co-ops are already allowed to contract directly with hotels and restaurants.

It’s another step in President Raul Castro’s gradual economic and social changes, which began in 2010.

Castro has emphasized efficiency through decentralization of the economy, which has long been dominated by the government.

However he says the reforms do not amount to a wholesale embrace of capitalism.

The new rules were announced Monday with their publication in the government’s Official Gazette. They take effect Oct. 21.

Photo Credit: A farmer in Viñales, Cuba, tends to his fields. Lauras512 / Flickr