‘Somewhat Sleepy’ Sugar Cane Harvest Augurs a New Disaster for Cuba

The growers are not fast in planting and have planted only 58 hectares of the 354 that were required for the next harvest. (Invasor)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 25 January 2023 — The failure of the sugar harvest in Ciego de Ávila is already becoming a reality. The leaders of the province, who have been justifying the poor results for weeks, acknowledged on Tuesday that the activities were “somewhat sleepy,” that is, slowed down, despite the fact that they had proposed a “small” plan at the national level.

A report from the official newspaper Invasor, on Tuesday, detailed the chain of insufficiencies and breaks that prevented the harvest from developing as planned. A delegation led by Liván Izquierdo Alonso, secretary of the Communist Party in Ciego de Ávila, toured the province to identify the deficiencies in the process. His diagnosis was, according to the newspaper, alarming: “There are manifestations of indiscipline in the task.”

For Izquierdo Alonso, the little effort of the growers to deal with cutting the cane fields and processing the product occupies the forefront of inefficiency, while the lack of equipment, broken machines and insufficient payment of labor occupy second place.

In a meeting of the sugar directors with the Party, it was made clear that there were “serious difficulties” in cutting and transporting the cane. This factor, claimed the state company Azcuba, directly affects the number of tons that can be processed.

Without going any further, last week 25,800 tons of cane had been cut at the Primero de Enero sugar company, when the goal was to collect 132,000. Due to the lack of raw material, the work of the Ecuador and Ciro Redondo sugar mills was also delayed.

In the case of the latter factory, a broken valve affected the work of its two boilers and paralyzed its operations. In addition, the notable figure of ten broken trucks jeopardizes the system for transferring the product to the other mills in the province. Upon being informed of this situation, Izquierdo Alonso lamented the “misguided diagnosis” that the specialists had offered to the leaders before beginning the harvest, which had influenced their production promises.

The “repetitive strikeouts” and “constant hose breaks” are other common difficulties in the mill’s ecosystem, but nothing influences the low production as much, according to Izquierdo Alonso, as the “indiscipline” of machete cutters, drivers and other workers.

The trucks – leased by the government, the official said – also do not arrive on time to the field. The growers are not fast in planting and have planted only 58 hectares of the 354 that were required for the next harvest.

Izquierdo Alonso concluded his balance by asking the growers and cooperatives associated with Azcuba to “honor the established commitments,” work with “more dynamism” and become aware of the “tense economic reality” that the country is going through.

At the beginning of the year, the leaders anticipated that the harvest in Ciego de Àvila and in the other Cuban provinces would not have good results. In the first two months of the harvest – the so-called small harvest – only 69% of what was expected had been achieved, and there was no reason to expect an improvement in the following months. At that time, with losses in 32 of the 57 sugarcane bases in the province, Izquierdo Alonso once again attributed the failure to the human factor and the “bad use” of government measures.


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