Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. - http://www.cubafreepress.org

December 21, 1998, Cuba Free Press.

SURE, SUGAR PRODUCTION WILL INCREASE DESPITE A REDUCTION IN INPUT!(?) By Orlando Bordón, Cuba Free Press.

HAVANA - One can't think about a recuperation in the Cuban economy if the sugar cane industry is not rebuilt. This is the opinion of Luis Rodriquez, vice president of the Council of Ministers and key planner of the economy.

This statement is pure logic and is founded, above all, on the crisis that has been confronting the sugar industry over the past few years. It is known that the production of sugar in the '97-'98 "campaign" did not reach its goal, and was even less than in preceding years.

The negative effect of this has been felt throughout this year with the increasing shortages in food, medicines and other basic products and with the reduction of common services as important as public transport.

One sad fact of this situation is that the official date for the prediction of the quantities of sugar that the country will need has fallen farther behind each year. And the reality that faces the cane growers has cooled their hopes to such an extreme that from now on they expect even more calamities instead of recuperation.

The sugar cane producers n 1998 faced a lack of necessities even greater than in earlier periods, especially for fuel which, according to reports from the basic agriculture units, did not even reach 60 percent of what they received in the preceding season.

Because of the shortages, a large part of the cane that went to the mills in the past season had not received the attention it needed. From the mills in Havana came reports that many cane stalks did not reach their full potential because of the weeds that took advantage of the fact that only one weed cultivation occurred of the three needed.

The weediness also developed because of a shortage of herbicides. What's more, there was a lack of manpower to weed the fields manually in the absence of other means of weed elimination.

The harvest for this winter has just begun and like always the sugar minister announces that results will be better than those of last year. Nevertheless, history has accustomed us to guess that, like always, there will have appeared great obstacles, real or invented, to make certain that the final results do not correspond to the plans.

What will be the result of this year's sugar harvest? This we will know later, if the statistics are published. And again there is talk of a recuperation of the sugar industry, although the sugar producers aleady have heard that in the next year they will receive 20 percent less of the basic input needed, as compared with the past year.

Orlando Bordón, Cuba Free Press.


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