Cuba meets sugar production target for first time in 20 years
April 19, 2011
The Cuban sugar industry, for the first time in two decades, has met its
annual target by producing 1.1 million tons of raw sugar during the
current 2010-11 crop cycle, the official NNTV television said Monday.
"Cuba met the sugar production plan with moderate growth, while 18 mills
are still grinding sugarcane," the NNTV television quoted an official
with the Sugar Ministry Osiris Quintero as saying.
The 18 mills are "adding an additional amount of sugar" to the achieved
production, the official said.
Cuba's sugar harvest period typically runs from January to May, when
most mills are in operation.
"This time Cuba has better chances with the campaign, because of a
longer preparation for the harvest and the availability of resources,"
said Cuba's Deputy Sugar Minister Adrian Jimenez.
This is the first time in 20 years that Cuba's sugar industry has met
its annual production target as the industry had gone through major
restructuring since the end of the Cold War, which led to a sharp
decline in Cuba's sugar export to its socialist allies in Europe.
When the 2010-11 crop year began last November, officials said the
harvest was expected to be some 1.1 million tons.
Out of the total production, some 700,000 tons are destined for domestic
use and the other 400,000 tons would be exported to China as part of a
special lucrative trade deal between the two countries.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Cuba produced more than 8 million tons of sugar
annually. But international sugar prices collapsed to historic lows in
the late 1990s, forcing about 100 of the island country's sugar mills to
close and turning Cuba into a net importer of sugar in 2003.
Since then, the recovery of the Cuban sugar harvest had been hit hard in
consecutive years due to bad weathers, particularly damaging hurricanes.
For centuries the Cuban sugar production accounted for 90 percent of the
island's export earnings, but in the last decade the production fell
sharply, prompting authorities to carry out new strategies to revive the