Sugar Cane Production In Cuba Essay, Research Paper
Sugar Cane Production in Cuba
Havana, April 17 (APIC). In Cuba, historically, prosperous and poor times were called the time of the fat cows and the time of the skinny cows respectively. In this skinny cow period that has prolonged for a record 4 decades, we must also refer in recent years to an even more discouraging expression: the time of the skinny sugar cane.
After the disastrous last few years of sugar production, hitting rock bottom with the “zafra” of 1995, which yielded only 3 million tons of raw sugar (96 degree base), the sugar cane production has been losing ground, to the point that this year a “caballaria” of land only produces 500-750 thousand pounds of sugar cane, in a country where the soil is so fertile, that potentially the yield could be 2.5 million pounds of sugar cane per caballaria.
In the prosperous capitalist Cuban past, the peasants, when the sugar cane production fell below 750,000 pounds per caballaria, called this sugar cane “caguazo”. Inexplicably, 90% of the sugar cane that arrives to the mills today is pure caguazo, and to make things worse, it arrives late to the mills, thereby reducing the yield, and complicating the industrial process to boot.
There are many reasons for the disastrous distribution of sugar cane to the mills, but at the root of the problem is the innate economic inefficiency of the communist system, the discouragement of the people, the errors of centralist bureaucracy, and the agricultural policies of the large state farms, where there is no accountability or interest to do anything.
There ruin of the yields in sugar cane in Cuba, which was the model country in this type of production, is an inseparable part of the historical failure of communist agriculture, which was squalid and unaffordable in the former Soviet Union, and its European satellites, and that has converted the fertile Cuban farms of yesteryear into poorly cultivated lands with low quality products.
The Cuban government this year hopes for a sugar production of 5 million tons with which to prop their highly advertised and unreal economic recovery. Even though this year’s zafra has benefited from the lack of rain, everything seems to indicate that production will barely surpass the 4 million ton mark, and only if the milling is accelerated, because March and April are months of high yields, and in May, the rain returns, which makes those yields plummet, and the cutting of cane grinds to a halt.
Unfortunately, in the Cuban economy, the situation is hopeless, and to make things worse, Castro’s socialism has atrophied the sugar cane cultivation skills of the Cuban peasant. We are living in the time of the “skinny cows”, the poor zafras, and the skinny sugar cane. The only thing that is on the rise here is poverty.