The Government invests less in sugar production, which does not cover national demand

The Government invests less in sugar production, which does not cover national demand

HAVANA, Apr 22. Although sugar production in Cuba—once the main exporter worldwide—does not even satisfy national demand at the moment, the Government reduced investment in this sector in 2023 compared to 2022.The official portal Cubadebate stated this Monday that all economic sectors grew compared to 2022 “except mining, the sugar industry and science, innovation and technology activities”, based on figures published by the state National Office of Statistics and Information. (ONEI).

In the sugar industry, investment fell from 410.1 million to 369.1 million, compared to last year. In the exploitation of mines and quarries, spending fell from 5,066.3 million in 2022 to 4,880.7 million in 2023.

The current sugar harvest started on December 6. However, a month later more than half of the 25 centers that must grind in the campaign were still under repair.

At the end of November 2023, before the harvest began, the state-owned AZCUBA Business Group recognized that the planned sugar exports were not met and that the low result of the last campaign affected the consumption of the basic basket of Cubans. The state entity has introduced a “new business model” in the current harvest to aspire to self-financing.

In March 2023, an expert consulted by Reuters had predicted on condition of anonymity: “They will certainly not make the plan and will have to import to meet the minimum domestic consumption.”

In January of that year, the director of IT, Communications and Analysis of AZCUBA, Dionis Pérez Pérez, had recognized the obsolescence suffered by the sugar industry in Cuba.


Likewise, it is striking that investment in science, innovation and technology activities also decreased compared to 2022 (from 531.7 million to 523.9 million), taking into account that Miguel Díaz-Canel does not stop calling for innovation and application science to get Cuba out of the deep economic crisis in which it is sinking.

Cubadebate recognized that “the increase in investments in hotels and restaurants” is significant, without pointing out the contradiction that exists between this increase and low occupancy. Until March, Cuba had received a total of 809,238 tourists, a figure that represents 7.5% more than that registered in the same period of 2023, but predicts another year of stagnation in the sector, which remains behind in the Caribbean region.

How Cuba’s sugar industry has been grounded into dust

The official media also highlighted the increase, compared to 2022, in investment in “gas, water and electricity supplies; transportation, storage and communications and education.” In addition, he highlighted the “recovery in investments in agriculture, livestock and fishing.”

However, the same ONEI figures cited by Cubadebate show that investment in tourism – as part of the so-called business services, real estate and rental activities, as well as hotels and restaurants – covered a third of the total of 96,622 million pesos spent, above the 71,069 million in 2022.

Despite the food crisis that Cubans are experiencing, the increase in investment in agriculture, livestock, hunting and forestry (2,966.7 million, compared to 1,855 million the previous year) is negligible. The same happens with fishing (657.6 million in 2023; 511.9 in 2022).

The increases in education (from 819.9 million to 1,339.4 million) are also insufficient; public health and social assistance (from 1,519.9 million to 1,770.8 million); construction (from 1,016.6 million to 1,527.1 million), and supply of electricity, gas and water (from 6,988.6 million in 2022 to 9,642.2 in 2023).

Regarding transportation, the increase in investment did not benefit ordinary Cubans. The minister of that portfolio, Eduardo Rodríguez Dávila, acknowledged in the YouTube program Since the Presidency, hosted by Díaz-Canel, that public transportation in Cuba today moves only 2.7 million daily travelers, compared to 5.9 million. five years ago, in what constitutes one of the worst crises in the sector.

However, this crisis only affects the transportation used by ordinary Cubans. Public bus trips increased from 390.2 million in 2022 to 321.6 million last year. But the number of travelers on state transportation intended for tourists rose by 62.1%, according to official figures released last week by the ONEI.

Cubadebate also highlighted that in the country “great importance is given to foreign investment” and stated, citing the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, that “a favorable business environment is fostered in the country with the approval of the Law No. 118 and its complementary regulations”.

“Among the incentives that invite foreign investors to bet on Cuba, the formulation of sectoral policies stands out for the identification of investment opportunities with foreign capital that allow access to the Cuban market and its consumers, the geographical location in the center of a market expanding, highly qualified personnel and a government policy that prioritizes technological innovation and research,” noted the state media.

However, last December the Cuban Government admitted that foreign investment did not have good results in 2023, although, as it usually does, it blamed the US embargo for this.

Despite using the usual scapegoat to justify the reluctance of foreign investment, the Government dismissed the organization’s first deputy minister, Ana Teresita González Fraga, and deputy minister Roberto López Hernández, at the end of January.