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    The debts of the agribusiness weigh in Ciego de Ávila

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    Las deudas de la agroindustria pesan en Ciego de Ávila

    The start of milling at the Ciro Redondo Sugar Mill and its synchronization with the bioelectric plant seemed settled at the beginning of January 2022. However, the joy lasted for a moment and the exchange parameters returned to put the harvest in this province at risk, where the large investment, valued at more than 330 million pesos, does not finish seeing the light and translate into sugar and energy.

    With this background and the commitment that history has to be different this year, the Cuban Deputy Prime Minister Jorge Luis Tapia Fonseca visited the province to evaluate the progress of the sugar harvest and the fulfillment of 11 previously indicated actions. It must be paid to a better development of the contest and to the correct synchronization between the Colossus of the Center and the clean energy generating plant.

    To date, six have no solution, in part because they depend on the intervention of Chinese operators, who will soon arrive in the country. We are talking; in the first place, about adjustments and new investments in the feed design of the Bioelectric boiler so that the bagasse burns one hundred percent, as happens with the marabou.

    Carmen Taboada Hernández, vice president of the mixed company Biopower S.A, explained that the differences between the granulometry of both biomasses generate problems, so much that in technical matters what is good for one is bad for the other. The bagasse does not reach the reception hopper in a uniform manner either, and these gaps cause pressure difficulties, with a significant risk of explosion.

    Therefore, the fact that the spare parts to start the broken harvesters are already in the country is good news, but not a magic solution.

    Tapia Fonseca's accounts were exact: “Having eight harvesters at the end of February, objectively, can provide us with 480 tons of marabou per day and this does not cover the demand of the plant, which needs 1,200 to 1,500 tons of this biomass in 24 hours. We have to adjust the mechanism and burn bagasse one hundred percent. There can be no more delays."

    Other problems continue to call into question the studies that should have preceded the large investment. This was corroborated by Julio García Pérez, president of the AZCUBA business group, with the explanation of five difficulties related to electricity and exchange parameters.

    “When the plant grinds at a capacity between 55 and 60 percent, the current shoots up. The factory consumes more energy than anticipated in the original design, especially in the peaks that are generated during grinding. The availability of water has also failed; the factory was stopped for 20 hours for that reason”.

    The Vice Prime Minister was also interested in the progress of the planting of energy forests, which will supply the marabou deficit in a few years. Neither has progress been made in this regard. Invasor said it before, of 3,724 hectares dedicated to this, only 307 have been planted; while the Agroforestry Company does not yet have the technified nurseries.

    During the exchange, it was announced that with a fund of 12 million dollars, studies and investments will begin that in the long term will allow the use of other biomass technologies for the so-called "dead time", although the indication of Jorge Luis Tapia Fonseca was to think focused on the present, to name people in charge and to set a date for each of the pending tasks.

    Given the uncertainty of the milling at the Ciro Redondo and the timing, with another tentative date for the month of March, the Primero de Enero plant will come out of its inertia and will support compliance with the sugar plan. So far, partial tests have been carried out on the boiler and repairs are in the final stage.

    However, at this point there is too much experience accumulated to know that the success of the sugar harvest continues to be a major task here, influenced by other variants, which also show numbers in red.

    Let's say that the planting of cane is behind schedule, that the lands free of marabou still do not produce, that 28 trucks and three combined stops threaten technical availability, that the leasing of means of transport has not yet materialized and that the formation of labor groups, a possibility contained within the 92 measures approved by the country's top management to stimulate the sector, is still halfway through. Ciego de Ávila cannot afford another campaign with pyrrhic returns.

    Vice Prime Minister Jorge Luis Tapia Fonseca's work tour included an exchange with authorities from the agri-food sector, in which Manuel Sobrino Martínez, Minister of the Food Industry, also participated.

    Failure to deliver milk to Lacteo, which not even the price of 20.00 pesos per liter has managed to pay off, was the center of the debate.

    A priori, it was concluded that a plan with reserves has been established, below the potential, judging by the existing mass and by the fact that farmers with more than 10 cows must deliver around 550 liters a year to meet their commitments. Then, it is possible to talk about slaughtering animals and selling the liquid in the market.

    It seems that the opposite has happened here, there are those who already sell without fulfilling their plan and, in the worst case, without hiring. Although it is valid to return to a fact, that Invasor has already handled before: “the Livestock Control registry is guided by numbers and the difference between what is real and what is on paper is thousands of heads. If the plans are made for figures that are not real, the problem only gets worse.

    The indication was to review the contracting process and each case in particular, as well as to resolve matters related to the delivery of land, since more than 1,468 cattle owners lack land. Until February 28 was the deadline given to resolve this last problem.

    For its part, in the Meat Company, of 3,000 possible contracts, only 383 are made, above all, by the resistance of the producers due to the obligation to stable the animals and the discounts of three and five percent during the sale. . At this rate, the basic basket is at risk, Tapia Fonseca sentenced.

    A similar scenario is presented by the Pork Company, which begins to encourage its producers to grow animal feed, especially protein derived from corn, soybeans and sorghum in the face of difficulties with imports.

    In the long term, we think of a chain where the peasants cultivate and the pig farmers buy from them what they cannot harvest. Eating pork and paying for it at acceptable prices will be an even longer road, another debt that weighs on the agribusiness and on the Cuban table.