Cuba moves to boost sugar production
Published July 15, 2011
Havana – Cuba seeks to stimulate sugarcane production by doubling the
price paid to farmers and by renegotiating their debts, the official AIN
news agency said, citing a top official.
The Cuban government "is investing to provide farmers with the necessary
funds" despite the Communist-ruled island's current financial straits,
Sugar Minister Orlando Celso Garcia said at a meeting with growers in
the eastern province of Camaguey.
He said that the initiative has been in effect since last year, but said
"the response in yields is not yet what was expected" and what is needed
is a "great leap forward."
Among the measures aimed at motivating production, the minister said the
government will pay growers more and wipe out their debts.
"These measures, among others, show our interest in reviving and
increasing crop yields in the short term," he said.
Within the plan of economic reforms promoted by President Raul Castro,
one of the primary goals is the sustained increase in sugarcane
production, the perfecting of relations between mills and growers, and
Formerly the nation's economic driving force, Cuba's sugar industry last
year had the worst harvest in 105 years, with a production of 1.1
The sector is currently trying to modernize its operations with new
technologies, more efficient management systems and even foreign
investment through the creation of mixed companies.
Between 2002 and 2004, Cuba restructured the sugar sector with the
reduction of mills from 155 to 51, the elimination of 100,000 jobs and
by shrinking the crop area from 2 million hectares (4.9 million acres)
to around 750,000 hectares (1.9 million acres).