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Cuba expecting higher sugar harvest

Source:Xinhua Published: 2012-11-26 15:41:54

Cuba began its sugar harvest this week with high expectations for output despite the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in late October.

Orlando Celso Garcia, president of the state-run Sugar Group Azcuba,said production was expected to be 20 percent higher than in 2011.

There were some deficiencies in the 2011-2012 harvest such as low utilization of manufacturing capacity that the producers are working to prevent, Garcia said.

According to official statistics, the 2011-2012 harvest output reached about 1.2 million tons of raw sugar, which increased by 17 percent compared to the previous year.

Officials said all 50 of Cuba's sugar mills will be put into operation during the next three months.

Liobel Hernandez, a specialist from Azcuba, estimated that the harvest would last about 166 days with output boosted by the application of modern technologies.

In addition, a foreign company Odebrecht of Brazil will manage a sugar refinery in Cuba for the first time since the triumph of the socialist revolution in 1959.

The sugar industry had served as the engine of the Cuban economy for more than 200 years. After peaking at approximately 8 million tons in 1989, sugar production plummeted starting around 2002 amidst rock-bottom international prices.

Nearly two-thirds of the island's refineries were shut down and 3 million acres (1.23 million hectares) of farmland were switched to other crops. The production hit a 105-year low of 1.1 million tons in 2010, according to official statistics.
Posted in: Americas