Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cuba's sugar harvest disappoints

Cuba's sugar harvest disappoints
Published May 29, 2012

The 2011-2012 sugar harvest in Cuba was 16 percent bigger than the year
before, but the results were "modest" and "insufficient" following a
disappointing growing season, government officials said.

Harvest results were analyzed at a meeting of managers in the sector, at
which two of the country's vice presidents, Jose Ramon Machado Ventura
and Marino Murillo, complained about the deficiencies in sugar
production, state television reported.

"We could have produced more sugar and we didn't do it, it escaped us,
we lost it and we could have done more...We have to change, really
change and we have to do things differently from the way they've been
done up to now - we can't keep believing in stories and promises,"
Machado Ventura, the No. 2 man in the Cuban government, told managers of
the sector.

The latest harvest, according to Cuban television, fell short by 68,000
tons of sugar, and though production grew by 16 percent over the
previous year, "these modest results are still insufficient for the
economic progress the country requires."

Marino Murillo, in charge of organizing and activating the plan of
economic adjustments the nation is undertaking, criticized specific
failures like the delay in getting sugar mills up and running despite
the investments allocated for them.

According to a May 18 article in the daily Granma, the official voice of
the ruling Communist Party, the managers of the AZCUBA sugar industry
group expected "a greater surge" this year because conditions were
"ideal" - and yet the harvest failed to produce the volume of sugar to
which the industry had committed itself.

The 2011-2012 harvest has been marked by the restructuring of the sector
following the substitution of the historic Sugar Ministry with the state
business organization AZCUBA, an umbrella organization covering 13
provincial companies plus nine support and services agencies, two
research institutes and a training center.

AZCUBA's mission is to inculcate better management, adopt new
technologies and generate exports to finance its own operations.

According to official projections, the next sugar harvest should
increase by 20 percent over the latest one's disappointing recovery
following the drastic drop in 2010, when Cuba had its worst sugar
harvest in 105 years. EFE

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