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Villa Clara Sugar Harvest Will Be Much Less Than In 2015

Villa Clara Sugar Harvest Will Be Much Less Than In 2015 / 14ymedio,
Jose Gabriel Barrenechea

14ymedio, Jose Gabriel Barrenchea, Santa Clara, 29 May 2016 — With the
shutdown of seven of its nine active sites, the 2016 sugar harvest is
nearly complete in Villa Clara. It has emerged that the province that
currently produces the most sugar in the country has fallen far short of
the 250,000 metric tons programmed: as of last Thursday only 180,000
metric tons have been produced, well below the previous harvest.

Only two centers are still milling, Hector Rodriguez of Sagua la Grande,
and Panchito of Quemado de Guines. With expected quantities of 36,200
and 39,700 metric tons, respectively, only these plants now have a
chance, however remote, of meeting their planned targets. It is very
unlikely that the province will reach the 190,000 metric tons proposed
by the first secretary of the Communist Party in the region and, in any
case, that result would only represent a fulfillment of 76% of its sugar

Among the causes of this marked decline are the late delivery of the
assurances needed to start up the plants, but especially the very low
agricultural yields and scant maturity of the reeds. This latter, by the
way, is a result of last season’s cutting ahead of time much of the cane
that would have reached its full development only this year, as a result
of last year’s government stubbornness to meet that year’s plans,
whatever it took.

The cane cutters are saying that this year they have cut fields that are
yielding less than 30,000 arrobas (a measure of weight that varies by
country; in Cuba it is 25 pounds) per caballeria (about 33 acres). In
addition, the small size of many fields and their less than optimal
location prevents a rational distribution of the cutters and resources
needed to transport the cane to the mills, which is also taking a toll
on the season.

The provincial authorities have insisted, however, that this disastrous
season is the fault of the rains, a statement completely at odds with
their frequent pronouncements that the province is experiencing a
drought. But in Villa Clara, it seems, it is a question of drought when
they are talking about aqueducts, and of rains when they are talking
about sugar harvests.

Source: Villa Clara Sugar Harvest Will Be Much Less Than In 2015 /
14ymedio, Jose Gabriel Barrenechea – Translating Cuba –

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