Cuba Needs More Than $10 Million Annually for Its Sugar Industry

HAVANA TIMES — Cuba needs to make millions of dollars in improvements as part of the restructuring of its sugar industry, reported authorities on Wednesday at the opening of the 50th Congress of the Association of Sugar Technicians of Cuba, being held at the Havana Convention Center.

The vice-president of the state-run AZCUBA managerial group, Wilson Morel, explained that the domestic sugar industry needs to make technical, administrative and financial “efforts,” according to the EFE news agency.

This means that the government should invest more than 10 million dollars annually into that sector, though for the past several years this figure has reached only $3 million.

The official recalled that the restructuring of the sugar industry required the closing of 95 refineries, the changing of uses on almost a half million acres of farmland, the re-training of thousands of workers, the reduction of the service infrastructure and changes in the management of that industry.

The Raul Castro government got rid of the Ministry of Sugar in 2011 to create AZCUBA, a move that resulted in a 45 percent reduction in staff.

Although growth in the industry is now predicted to be between a 15 and 20 percent annually, the sector needs to put another 10 factories into operation by 2015, modernize its technology, improve the yields and the systems of payment for sugarcane, and apply administration mechanisms that will allow this industry to become financially self-sustaining.