Cuba sees record rice output in 2012

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-2-19 17:04:29

Cuba produced a record high of 315,000 tons of rice in 2012, a bumper harvest that "contributes greatly to replacing imports," state-run media said on Monday.

The Trabajadores weekly said the high production figure was possible because more of needy resources were accessible to producers on time.

Despite positive numbers, concerns over rice output still loom large as "it could have been larger" should it not be constrained by the industrial capacity, the weekly said, adding that heavy rains damaging crops in the western province of Pinar del Rio and in central Sancti Spiritus also adds salt to the wound.

Record harvest as it is, meeting high domestic consumption demand is "still beyond our means" and the huge productive potential of the country is yet to tap, it said.

Cuba currently invests the most in machinery and drying and milling technologies, aiming to produce 500,000 tons by the year 2016, the weekly reported.

Ambitious as such aim may be, the fact that the Cuban government has to import more than half of what is consumed domestically right now as rice is the most important staple of their diet.

The Agriculture Ministry also has launched various programs to boost rice production with the help of specialists from China, Vietnam and Japan.

Cuba imports about 80 percent of all its food at an annual cost of about 2 billion US dollars, a cost that may keep piling up as food prices grow in international markets.

Cuban leader Raul Castro, who took office in 2008, has been trying to boost agricultural output by leasing idle state-owned land to farmers, a move that has already showed some positive results.

Posted in: Americas

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