The Harvest Begins in Cuba After the Worst Planting of Sugarcane in More Than a Century

In other times, the sugar industry was the economic engine of Cuba but it suffered a drastic fall in production from the 1990s. (ACN)

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Havana, 26 November 2022 — Cuba’s 2022-2023 sugar harvest began this Friday with the goal of producing 455,198 tons of sugar in a harvest that will be “small,” seeking to resuscitate the depressed sector.

In this harvest, started in the central province of Cienfuegos, it is planned to grind 6.5 million tons of sugar cane with only 23 factories, 13 fewer than in the previous harvest, according to the strategy set out by the Azcuba state group, which manages the area.

It’s about making an “objective and flexible harvest, although small, with good practices,” concentrating resources in fewer sugar mills with the aspiration to achieve “greater efficiency,” as explained by the president of Azcuba, Julio García Pérez.

The purpose will be to concentrate production for family consumption through the rationing book — which delivers 4 pounds of sugar per person per month — as well as for tourism, medicines, industrial production and export.

In addition to producing to satisfy national consumption, the sector’s plans aim to produce more alcohol, electricity and derivatives for domestic consumption and the foreign market.

In the previous season, in round numbers 480,000 tons of sugar were manufactured; 36 plants ground just over six million tons of cane; and the total production was the lowest in the last hundred years in the history of this industry in Cuba.

The sugar sector on the Island impacts more than 180,000 people directly, counting the families of the workers, and it is calculated that more than 700,000 Cubans and Cubans live from cane production, according to official figures.

In other times, the sugar industry was the economic engine of Cuba, but it suffered a drastic fall in production fall from the 1990s, during the crisis after the fall of the Soviet bloc.

Between 2009 and 2010, production plummeted to 1.1 million tons.

Cuba had 156 factories operating in 1959, upon the triumph of the Revolution, which in that year produced 5.6 million tons of sugar and subsequently rose to 8 million in the best harvests, between 1970 and 1989.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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