Cuba predicts rice harvest to increase

Havana, April 23 (IANS/EFE) Cuba predicts that its rice harvest will increase this year by 74,000 tonnes, though the island will still rely on imports to meet demand, the official weekly Trabajadores said.

Estimated production this year will rise to 394,000 tonnes of rice, up from 320,792 tonnes in 2012.

Cuban rice growers in 2012 had more funding that in previous growing seasons, though problems with combine harvesters and industrial capacity limited the output of a season that could have been better, according to specialists of the sector.

Around 80 percent of rice production on the island is handled by cooperatives and independent farm workers, according to official figures.

Rice-production plans aim at covering 66 percent of national demand by 2016, the weekly said.

But rice growers still need certain points in the production chain fixed in order to reach the 2016 output target of more than 500,000 tonnes.

The plans also include the counselling of farmers by Vietnamese experts.

Trabajadores notes the contribution of Vietnamese technicians to the “training, organization and control of the productive process”.

Cuba currently imports some 400,000 tonnes of rice per year, which represents 60 percent of the consumption of its 11.2 million inhabitants.

–IANS/EFE

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