Monday, October 18, 2021
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Cuba steps up sugar production

Cuba is seeking to increase its sugar production as a means of diversifying its agriculture output.

The country is seeking out suitable plots of land to plant further sugar cane as it attempts to step up its use in animal feed, alcohol production and electricity generation.

Mariela Gallardo, the director of the Cuban Institute for Research on Sugar Cane Derivatives (Icidca), said sugar could play a huge part in Cuba’s economic recovery while increasing the use of available growing land.

By diversifying into new areas with sugar by-products, new jobs could be created, a greater range of foods produced and farmers earnings boosted.

Converting land to sugar cane pro-

duction was also good for the envir-onment, Mr Gallardo said.

Experts from the Cuban sugar organ-isation Azcuba Business Group have been pushing for increased production for some time, arguing that planting more sugar cane in the available fields is not enough.

It is imperative to add more areas to increase raw material volumes, they say.

Federico Sulroca, assistant researcher at the National Institute of Sugar Cane Research (INICA), part of the Azcuba Business Group, said the tightening of the economic, commercial and financial blockade on Cuba by the United States had hindered the expansion of sugar production.

In turn, the Covid crisis had added to Cuba’s problems in sourcing much-needed supplies, he said.

Mr Sulroca said the institution was making progress, however, including improvements to irrigation which led to greater yields of sugar cane per hectare.

Drones and satellite technology were also being used to detect plant diseases, soil humidity, machinery operation and other activities.

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