The Sugar Harvest Grows But Fails to Meet the Plan

Un campo de caña de azúcar en Cuba. (Flickr/CC)
A sugar cane field in Cuba. (Flickr / CC)

As has already become a tradition, Cubans will not know how many tons of sugar are ultimately produced at the end of the 2014-2015 harvest. A summary of the report prepared by the Azcuba Sugar Group, published by the newspaper  Gramna, limits itself to saying that, although the “plan is 45% below expectations,” production “experienced an 18% growth relative to the prior year’s milling.”

According to the report, sugar production grew for the fifth consecutive year but has not reached its target for a series of reasons. Among them, the delay in making repairs, attributed to the late arrival of certain resources, due in turn to the lack of deliveries on the part of the importing countries. This detail alone had as a consequence that 11 sugar mills didn’t start on time, “or started without testing the machinery in advance, which increased the breakdowns during the milling.” 

A report by Azcuba president Orlando Celso Garcia to the Workers Center of Cuba Plenary at the end of 2014, said that the mistakes of the past would not be made again and announced that 15 million dollars were invested in importing equipment for irrigation. He added that the reception capacity in the collection centers will be increased and more than 3,400 trailers will be added with a capacity of 20 tons each, along with 80 re-engined Kamaz trucks and another 287 trucks without trailers.

Despite these forecasts, the main problem was the low capacity utilization of the mills in the industry, which did not exceed 65%, caused by downtime, plus missing the quantities in the cutting and throwing of cane. On the other hand, performance improved as 100 tons of cane crushed yielded an average of 10.27 tons of sugar, 0.77 more than in the previous harvest. It is to this that the increase in total production is due.

The report mentions the most outstanding provinces and sugar mills and announced that, according to estimates, sugarcane mass will increase between 15% and 20% annually in the coming years. Maybe by the end of 2015, when speaking of the next harvest, we will get to know how many tons were produced in the harvest now ending.

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