CUBA: Drought impacting future cane harvests
Published: 07/17/2017, 12:48:25 PM
The drought that has affected Cuba since 2015 is delaying the sowing time of sugar cane in Villa Clara province, especially in areas located in the north of the province, because it impedes irrigation of the soil destined for this crop, according to Cuba's ACN news agency.
Andres Duran Fundora, the provincial director of AZCUBA, the state entity responsible for the cultivation and production of sugar cane, told the press that the levels of the reservoirs in the territory are low, and limiting the use of water for agricultural purposes.
About 40% of the sugar cane plantations are located in the northern part of Villa Clara, he said.
He commented that experts are analyzing the effects in the area and evaluating the real situation, to take action, and look for alternatives to guarantee the sowing of the sugar cane destined for the upcoming harvest.
Representative of AZCUBA in Villa Clara, Norbelio Machado, explained that the lack of rain and the reduced availability of water resulted in incomplete sowing in the first half of the year.
By the end of June, 93% of the planned sowing in the area was completed and 903 hectares (2,231 acres) were left unplanted, the specialist said.
Machado added that, despite the current situation, they continue to sow in the province and during the first week of July they had already covered 494 hectares.
The major effects and difficulties were concentrated in the northern part of the province and that is why they are working in the rest of the territory where recent rain facilitated the work.
Machado highlighted the importance of new technology with the use of five seeding machines with high productivity. These machines replace the work of some 120 people and maintain working hours of between 10 and 12 hours a day, during which they can sow some ten hectares.
Another alternative applied to ease the effects of the drought is an increase in a method called sowing on a wide base.
The specialist said that with this technique over 10,800 hectares will be covered, which should contribute between 25 to 30% more sugar cane.
He stressed that the increase is vital to expand the industrial capacity of Villa Clara, currently at 65%.
The factories in the territory can process enough raw material to reach up to 450,000 tonnes of sugar in one harvest.