EFE, via 14ymedio, Havana, 28 February 2018 — Cuba produced only 4,200 tonnes of organic sugar, 60% of the plan forecast for the current cane harvest, mainly due to the intense rains of recent months and the reduced concentration of sugar in the cane, the official media reported this Tuesday.
The Carlos Baliño mill in the central province of Villa Clara, the only one that makes organic sugar in Cuba, had proposed to produce 6,000 tonnes of the product that is exported mainly to the European market along with organic honey, a derivative of the milling of the cane.
The prolonged drought and the strong impact of Hurricane Irma on the island in 2017 affected sugarcane crops in the country and consequently affected the results of the harvest, says the state-run Cuban News Agency (ACN).
The head of the Analysis and Control Room of the factory, Frank Ocampo, explained that the product is currently being tested in laboratories, prior to its commercialization, because it is a product with high international demand.
The cane that is destined for the production of organic sugar dispenses with fertilizers and other chemical substances both in its cultivation and in the subsequent industrial processes.
The specialist indicated that after producing raw sugar, in a first stage, and the organic product in the intermediate milling stage, the Carlos Baliño mill will now resume the production of the raw product.
A report on the progress of the sugar harvest, which began on 5 December 2017, indicated in mid-January that rainfall had damaged 70% of cane plantations dedicated to the current harvest and had paralyzed 27 of the 53 active mills in the region.
During this period, the processing yield was reduced because the cane did not mature in time and its sucrose content was lower than the percentage needed (more than 18%) to produce sugar, according to experts in the sector.
Cuba produced some 1.8 million tonnes in the 2016-2017 sugar harvest, according to official data.
Since the 1990s, the Island’s sugar industry has suffered a drastic fall that at its lowest point produced 1.1 million tonnes in the 2009-2010 harvest.
The sector has not yet managed to recover the harvests of up to eight million tonnes reached in other times, when sugar production was considered the economic engine of Cuba.
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