Cuba is among the biggest sugar consumers in the world and it is not one of the leading producers. For several decades now, however, Cubans buy this product at ridiculously low prices in the domestic market thanks to the government’s efforts in assuring basic food supply to the population.

According to the director of AZCUBA Sugar Agribusiness, Osiris Quintero Lopez, the whole Cuban people consume more than 600,000 metric tons per
year, that is, 50 kilograms per capita.

Based on studies carried out in Latin America by the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), some experts affirm that such over consumption of
sugar is the cause of the high prevalence rate of diabetes mellitus in the country, which is about 14.8 per cent.

In spite of the current global crisis, the government had to resort to imports so as to meet the excessive demand in the national market.

In a firm attempt to change this scenario, AZCUBA, which recently replaced the Cuban Ministry of Sugar (MINAZ), is facing its first sugar cane harvest this year with the purpose of generating hard currency by exporting this product in order to finance national expenses.

AZCUBA comprises 13 sugar companies and 61 sugar mills that could be ready to take action; whereas only 56 are active, including the 46 that will start operating in December with the beginning of the sugar cane harvest.

Cuba has witnessed a recovery in this sector since 2009, as this industry outdid its production plan by seven per cent, though this figure is still considered deficient due to the prolonged production decline experienced in the sector.

Quintero noted that the situation is promising as preparations are on the right track and the fields have been given proper care with more herbicides and biofertilizers.

Furthermore, irrigation slightly increased, weather conditions were favorable, and FITOMAS —a bio-nutrient obtained from the sugar industry—was applied with positive results.

This year, there is no need to summon people for the harvest and the substantial resources demanded had to be acquired two years earlier in foreign markets as a result of the U.S. economic, financial, and commercial blockade imposed against Cuba.

Restoration works, mechanization, motor and railroad transportation ––now under the Ministry of Transportation as MINAZ disappeared–– are on schedule.

A harvest drill in the western, central, and eastern regions is taking place in November so that all mills can test their equipment and generate electricity one month before the start of the harvest campaign.

It seems that sugar harvesters are more organized and working with more discipline; they will also receive better wages to set the bases for the definitive takeoff of what used to be regarded as Cuba’s main export.



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