HAVANA (Reuters) – Hopes in Cuba that sugar exports would ease an financial slowdown and shut a tradable trade hole seem like in useless, with state media reporting manufacturing of at the very least 200,000 metric tonnes under forecast for the top of February.

FILE PHOTO: A sugar cane subject is seen close to the city of Guantanamo, Cuba, December 7, 2017. REUTERS / Carlos Barria

Though it’s now not one of many major export merchandise and behind different sources of overseas earnings reminiscent of medical providers, tourism, remittances and nickel, sugar nonetheless brings a whole bunch of {dollars} to Cuba. tens of millions of {dollars} a 12 months from exports, together with residence.

Like different industries, agriculture and sugarcane cultivation face structural issues within the Communist-led, import-dependent financial system that the federal government is simply addressing.

Over the previous six months, it has adopted foreign money and different market-oriented reforms, however these will take time to materialize.

Julio Andres Garcia, president of the Caribbean island nation AZCUBA sugar monopoly, stated in December that the state-owned business will produce 1.2 million tonnes of uncooked sugar in 2021, just like the earlier 12 months.

Cuban manufacturing has averaged round 1.4 million tonnes of uncooked sugar over the previous 5 years, in comparison with an business of 8 million tonnes in 1989.

The harvest takes place from November to Could with most yields from January to mid-April.

Reuters estimates, primarily based on obtainable information and native sources, that this 12 months’s harvest will probably be lower than a million metric tonnes of uncooked sugar for the primary time since 1908, and presumably as little as 900,000 tonnes, a 25% lower.

The 13 sugar-producing provinces had been behind initially of March, and the 5 largest producers Ciego de Avila, Camaguey, Villa Clara, Holguin and Las Tunas with 25,000 to 50,000 tonnes of uncooked sugar every.

The harvest was marked by a scarcity of gas and spare elements for mills and equipment, shortages of sugar cane and low yields, and an outbreak of COVID-19 in at the very least one among 38 energetic factories.

Cuba consumes between 600,000 and 700,000 metric tonnes of sugar per 12 months and has entered right into a toll settlement of 400,000 metric tonnes with China.

Powerful US sanctions and the pandemic, which have ravaged tourism, have lowered Cuban foreign money earnings, leading to shortage, job losses and an 11% financial contraction in 2020.

To date, this 12 months doesn’t look any higher, with the pandemic pushing guests away, no modifications in US coverage and the shortage of overseas trade resulting in shortages of gas, farm inputs and a basic shortage of shopper items. even fundamental.

The federal government stated overseas trade earnings had been solely 55% of final 12 months’s forecast, partially as a result of the harvest was under 300,000 tonnes, whereas imports fell between 30% and 40%. He didn’t present additional particulars.

“There isn’t a purpose to imagine that the shortfall will probably be made up and all purpose to imagine that it might worsen,” stated a Cuban sugar knowledgeable, requesting anonymity resulting from restrictions on contacts with overseas journalists.

Reporting by Marc Frank; Edited by Christian Plumb and Alexander Smith


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