Cuba wants to save its sugar production!  - The financier

Cuba wants to save its sugar production! – The financier

At present, Cuba has a real problem with sugar production. Once known as the largest exporter of sugar, the country has come to import this product from other countries, especially France. In doing so, the Havana government is doing everything it can to save the once thriving industry.

At the moment, the sugar production, from the Antonio Sanchez factory in the province of the same name, in the center of Cuba, has resumed, announces France Presse, which adds that there were several hours of break due to lack of sugar cane.

However, the international press writes that the days when the sugar cane crop was in bloom are over, also stating that the 2020-2021 harvest has been the worst in the last 130 years. During this period, only 800,000 tons of sugar were harvested.

Specifically, in the country, this situation was caused by the lack of combine harvesters and trucks to deliver the cane to the factories, although the Cuban government is striving to relaunch the industry.

In his opinion, “From morning until evening we face a mountain of problems. It is an endless war, “said Lazaro Manuel Torres, director of the Antonio Sanchez sugar factory.

Cuba was the largest exporter of sugar

In this context, Cuba was, until 1989, the largest exporter of sugar, and the main customer was the United States of America, until 1960. Subsequently, the USSR was Cuba’s main customer, buying sugar at a preferential rate. .

However, the fall of the USSR caused a decline in Cuban sugar, which accelerated with falling prices and a lack of investment, so that the number of sugar factories fell from 156 to 56.

Moreover, Cuba has had to buy sugar, especially from France, in recent years.

Cuba had an ambitious goal

Fidel Castro initially decided in 1970 to mobilize the entire island to reach the ambitious goal of 10 million tons of sugar in a year, but it was never achieved. In December last year, his brother Raul called for the “rescue” of an industry on the verge of agony.

Thus, “Saving the industry means stopping the downward trend in production, which has been declining since 2017. If the situation continues, the industry will disappear,” warns Noel Casanas, deputy director of state sugar producer AZCUBA.

In the political-legal context, in an attempt to save this industry, the Havana Government adopted 93 measures such as doubling the price to producers, authorizing the free employment and dismissal of workers, and granting greater decision-making autonomy to sugar factories. , in a country where everything is run by the state.

But “I don’t think these measures can make an industry that is already practically a corpse,” said economist Emilio Morales, chairman of Havana Consulting Group.

In terms of production, in December last year, the Antonio Sanchez plant failed to exceed 65% of production capacity, which for this season was set at 20,000 tons.

In his opinion, “If you don’t have combine harvesters and trucks, you can’t operate at 100% capacity,” says Lazaro Manuel Torres.

According to Noel Casanas, what is needed is foreign investment to expand the sugar industry into highly profitable derivatives such as bioethanol.

“Sugar is no longer the locomotive of the Cuban economy, nor will it be,” says Noel Casanas.