The 2007-8 sugarcane harvesting season began in Cuba on Monday, with the start of operations at the Roberto Ramirez sugarcane factory in the municipality of Niquero, in eastern Granma province.
A total of 52 factories will produce sugar this season, 14 of them starting operations in December. Harvesting will last an average of 96 days, and the largest planned operation is scheduled for 129 days in the Urbano Noris factory, in eastern Holguin province.
The Roberto Ramirez factory will run for 90 days, with 68 percent of the raw material cut by sugarcane harvesting machines. Next scheduled to start up are the Paquito Rosales (Santiago de Cuba), Bartolome Maso (Granma) and Panchito Gomez Toro (Villa Clara) factories.
87 percent of the sugarcane will be harvested mechanically, while over 21,000 workers will do the manual cutting. Hindering factors this season are the poor condition of the roads to transport the sugarcane, 470 kilometers of which were severely damaged by the intense rains caused by tropical storm Noel in October.
Intense rains also affected 40 kilometers of railroads and flooded 57,000 hectares of sugarcane.