EFE, via 14ymedio, 29 April 2018 — Cuba plans to harvest avocado year-round with a new system of staggered sowing that alternates different varieties and clones of the crop, designed to meet the high local demand for the fruit, which is also one of the products the island could export.
Created by the Institute of Tropical Fruit Research (IIFT), the proposal has already been applied with “encouraging results” in the western province of Artemisa, according to a report published Saturday by the state-run Cuban News Agency.
The IIFT’s research is also being applied to the harvesting of mamey sapote and focuses on the behavior of the fruits according to the state of maturation, the climate conditions and soil characteristics by region.
“The avocado, rich in vitamins D and E, potassium, folic acid and natural fats, can be planted throughout the year, provided that, among other factors, water is available to guarantee the plant’s requirements,” said IIFT director Guillermo Almenares.
With regards to the mamey, a fruit with a red pulp greatly appreciated for its digestive and antibiotic properties, Almenares said that they have selected artificially developed varieties that can be harvested at various periods of the year.
The Tropical Fruit Research Institute, based in Havana, is in charge of providing the scientific and technical base to achieve sustainability and competitiveness for the fruit agroindustry in Cuba.
On the island there are more than 300 agricultural cooperatives responsible for maintaining a stable and diverse supply of fruits in the state agricultural markets and hotels, a mission that is not always fulfilled in the case of the markets that serve the population.
Cuba has 10.9 million hectares of total area, of which about 6.2 million are agricultural and 3.3 million are forested.
Within the economic reforms promoted by former President Raúl Castro, one of the objectives of the Cuban Government is to encourage local food production, since the island spends about 2.5 billion dollars a year to import food.
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