14ymedio, Havana, 24 March 2022 — Sugar production in Cuba this year seems unable to overcome the worst prospects. In Ciego de Ávila, the authorities have reported several “breaks” in two plants that limit “the parameters of efficiency and productivity.”
Eduardo Larrosa Vázquez, an official of the State’s Azcuba group in that province, declared to the official newspaper Invasor that 600,000 tons of cane remain to be harvested, which “makes compliance with the previously conceived harvest very tense.”
The blame for the delays is also due, according to the state director, to the “interconnection” of the Ciro Redondo power plant, known as “the Colossus of the Center,” with the bioelectric plant installed on the Island in 2020.
The authorities reported just a few days ago that the bioelectric plant was experiencing difficulties due to the lack of biomass from marabou and bagasse, precisely because Ciro Redondo, who supplies it with this material, does not have enough cane available.
Until the third week of March, 225,000 tons were milled in Ciego de Ávila and more than 60,000 were “linked” to Sancti Spíritus.
According to Larrosa Vázquez, the “technical flaws” in the boilers produced this month have caused the Ecuador plant to operate at 56% of its power and on January 1, at 63%. With this, the performance in the province is at 58% of its capacity.
Once the breakdowns have been resolved, the official assured, “an improvement in the efficiency parameters” is expected in April.
President Miguel Díaz-Canel spoke about the harvest this Monday. The hand-picked president described the current sugar harvest as “bad,” but stressed that the sector, historic for the country, “cannot disappear.”
Díaz-Canel chaired a meeting with regional leaders of the Communist Party in which, among other issues, progress in the sector was analyzed, and he said that the face of the harvest must be “changed,” for which it will be necessary to “over-perform” the planting plan.
Last February, during a visit to the province by the deputy prime minister, Jorge Luis Tapia Fonseca, a disastrous result in the sugar harvest was already predicted. The official then verified that the investment of more than 330 million pesos that was made at the beginning of the year to start grinding at the Ciro Redondo mill had not been of any use.
The authorities had scheduled 11 previous actions that had to be carried out to achieve the objective, but none had been carried out. Six of them, Invasor reported, “have no solution,” since they were in the hands of Chinese operators who should have arrived on the Island and did not.
The problems have accumulated in such a way that as of 2022 there is even a lack of marabou, a species that is characterized by being invasive. The province began a planting program to fill the gap, but the newspaper reported in February that there are 3,724 hectares planned for it, of which only 307 had been planted.
In 2021, Cuba closed the worst harvest in its history in more than a century, worse than the previous year, which had also set a negative record, and Ciego de Ávila barely met 11% of the forecasts, that is, a total of 200,000 tons of cane remained uncollected.
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