Stock Groups

Cuba’s sugar harvest worst in over century, another hit to ailing economy -Breaking


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: On February 25, 2022, a harvester cut sugar cane on a San Cristobal, Cuba plantation. REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

HAVANA (Reuters – Cuba’s famous sugar harvest surpassed just half of the communist government’s goal this year. According to Granma, a state-run newspaper, the result is another devastating blow for the nation’s already in crisis economy.

Granma reported that 52% of the season’s goal was achieved in 2021-2022, which equals approximately 474,000 tons. Granma said that this is close to half of the 800,000-tonne crop last year. This was already the worst harvest in 1908.

According to the report, Azcuba, the state-run sugar firm, attributed the shortage to a lack in inputs. This included oxygen for sugar production and fertilizers as well as pesticides, fuel, and parts for plant machinery.

Granma reported that “the financial factor was one of the most important in the results for the harvest,” adding that the US government’s intensification of economic, financial, and political blockade against the island had exacerbated the situation.

Only 37% of necessary pesticides and herbicides are available in the current season, according to the report.

A spokesman for the company also pointed out problems with “administration and labor discipline” in the report. He said that these issues remain unresolved.

Cuba has always been proud of sugar, which is crucial to its famous rum production and provides employment opportunities in Cuba’s poor agricultural interior.

Alejandro Gil, the Economy Minister, stated in December that Cuba would produce 9111,000 tonnes of food this year. 500,000 tonnes were earmarked for domestic consumption and the remainder for export.

Granma said that even though the sugar production dropped sharply, the sugar company guaranteed sufficient raw sugar for Cuba to continue providing their state-supplied monthly rations until the end 2022.

Cuba was also planning to sell China 400,000 tonnes as part of a long-standing agreement with Beijing. It was not clear from the report what happened to that agreement.