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Cuba produces a similar range of sugar derivatives as that which it produced in the 1980s
Currently, Cuba produces a similar range of sugar derivatives as that which it produced in the 1980s, before the economic crisis of the 90s, although it does not reach the proportions of that former stage, reported Juan Godefoy, an official of the country’s Ministry of Sugar (MINAZ).

“The country is experiencing a reactivation of facilities that take advantage of the agro-industrial by-products, because our mission is not only to produce sugar,” he stressed, pointing out that it has been possible to improve the quality of more than 80 percent of the sugar output.
Godefoy noted that in today’s world, to make the agro-industry cost-effective, not only must sugar be manufactured, there is also a need to produce other foods, alcohol and electricity, among others derivatives.

As part of the strategy for the diversification of sugar production, he highlighted that two refineries are being reactivated for the production of refined sugar. He added that by next year, another one will come on line to satisfy the entire national market.

The deputy minister also explained that MINAZ is manufacturing glucose, a fructose syrup, at the same time that the production of carbonic anhydride and sorbitol is being promoted. Likewise, studies are underway to put plants in operation for the processing of other derivatives in the country.

The contribution of this sector has also increased electricity generation, using the greater amounts of burnable refuse, as well as reactivating the production of plywood-like cane-based construction materials.

Studies are also now underway to reestablish a furfural plant, and a look is being taken at the duplication of the production of sugarcane-based alcohol through the modernization of four distilleries. The incorporation of additional facilities in this process is expected with the objective of increasing the efficiency and quality of alcohol production, presently at an annual volume of 100 million liters.

Also contemplated is the recovery of several existing torula yeast plants, which were paralyzed in the 1990s.

The deputy minister also announced that in September a plant will be opened in Havana for the production of fitoma, a bio-stimulate for increasing the sugar yield. The new industry relies on technology developed nationally by specialists with the Cuban Research Institute of Sugarcane Derivatives (ICIDCA), and will guarantee at least two million liters of the bio-nutrient annually.

An increase in agricultural production is also projected for the sector. Two thirds of the land previously allocated to the planting of sugarcane is now devoted to that purpose.

During the press conference, details were given about the upcoming 10th International Conferences on Sugar and Sugarcane Derivatives (“Diversification 2008”).

The event —sponsored by MINAZ, ICIDCA and Venezueal’s PDVSA Agrícola— will hold sessions in Havana’s Hotel Nacional from the October 14 to 17, where more than 300 delegates from 20 nations are expected to attend.

The biennial conference will present five roundtable discussions on issues related to sugarcane agriculture, energy, alcohol and drinks, animal feed and the environment. The workshops will also address aspects related to diversification and integration.

“Since we work within the camp of the Bolivarian Alternative for People of the Americas (DAWN), we foresee not only Cuba and Venezuela sharing in the aims of this sector,” said Godefoy.

He highlighted that the recent participation of PDVSA Agrícola in the planning and organization of Diversification 2008, saying that it extends the horizon of the objectives of the conference and gives it a “more interesting tone.”

(Juventud Rebelde)

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