Cuba says it will give greater autonomy to well-run agricultural cooperatives on the island and eliminate about 300 that are not performing up to par.

The measures announced Wednesday mean that the majority of cooperatives will have their government debt forgiven and will be granted 25 years to pay back any outstanding bank debt.

In exchange, subsidies that allow the organizations to get beneficial interest rates and lower prices are being eliminated.

Agriculture is the only sector in Cuba's Marxist economy in which private cooperatives are allowed, though the government has promised to expand the practice into other areas by year's end.

The new rules were announced by Cuban state media