Cuban citrus turns corner after decade of decline
Published on Monday, January 4, 2010
HAVANA, Cuba (Reuters) — Cuban citrus production increased 9.1 percent
in 2009, the government reported over the weekend, the first increase in
a decade that saw storms, plague and disease decimate the once robust
Citrus output was 427,500 tonnes, compared with 391,800 tonnes in 2008,
the National Statistics office reported on its Web page
Citrus production was 469,000 tonnes in 2007 and 792,700 in 2003.
Local officials blame aging groves, hurricanes and disease for the
decline and have said they are working to replant and reduce and spread
Cuba had reported a continued decline in output through July when the
orange-picking season ended, indicating the improved performance was due
mainly to grapefruit, which is harvested from August through December.
Cuba does not report juice production for export.
In the 1980s, Cuba was the world's biggest citrus fruit exporter,
producing more than a million tonnes of mainly oranges and grapefruit on
120,000 hectares, most destined for the former Soviet Union.
The crop declined, then recovered, reaching 800,000 tonnes in 2001,
before beginning to decline once more.
Today, 80 percent of the crop is processed into juice by five plants
across the country, 5 percent exported fresh and sold to the tourism
industry, and the rest used for domestic consumption, the Agriculture
The picking season runs from late August through June, with grapefruit
harvested into December and oranges after that.
Israeli-based investors, operating through the Panama-based BM Group,
are heavily involved in the sector.
Caribbean Net News: Cuban citrus turns corner after decade of decline (4