Hard Times for Cuban Sugar Cane Harvest

Corte de caña en Cuba. (Conexión Cubana)
Cutting down sugarcane in Cuba. (Conexión Cubana)

Guarapo,  sugarcane juice, may be harder to get in 2016, thanks to the climate, obsolete technology and missed payments to producers, all of which are affecting the current sugar harvest, according to information presented to the National Assembly on Sunday by the directors of the AzCuba Group.

Delayed payments from the last harvest to private, leasee and cooperative producers total more than 95 million pesos and are of particular concern in the provinces of Holguin, Mayabeque, Matanzas, Camagüey and Granma.

According to AzCuba president Orlando Celso Garcia, the drought in July and August and the excessive rain in the months of November and December also will negatively affect the sugar harvest.

The delay in starting by a group of centers in the so-called “little harvest” is another negative factor, and is due to the immaturity of the cane and infrastructure problems in the sugar mills.

According to AzCuba’s official figures, the technological and input needs of the sector required 173 million pesos in imports, but only 98 million pesos worth was approved.

Data from the last harvest were handled very discreetly in the official press, and no figure was given for the number of tons produced. A summary of the report prepared by AzCuba and published in the newspaper  Granma limited itself to saying that although “the plan fell 4% short of what was expected,” production “grew 18% over the previous harvest.”

Cuban sugar production reached 8.5 million metric tons in 1970 and fell to 1.1 million metric tons in the 2009-2010 harvest, a figure that had already been reached on the island in the early years of the twentieth century.


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