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Cuba: Ciego de Avila bets on increasing pineapple exports
The rains of Hurricane Irma delayed the planting of pineapple in Ciego de Avila, and its workers continue the corresponding tillage to expand marketing in tourism and export, in order to obtain foreign exchange and strengthen the national economy.
Ciego de Avila, which committed to have two thousand hectares of pineapple crops before the end of 2018, for which the corresponding seed is available, already has 1,459 hectares planted with MD-2 and Spanish Red varieties, stated Engineer Reinaldo Avila Guerra, the director of the Base Business Unit dedicated to this project in southern Avila.
Another objective is to surpass the 1,075 tons of MD-2 pineapple sent last year to Europe, due to the high demand for this food, especially in Spain, Italy and France, and to supply the Cuban tourist poles.
Avila Guerra highlighted the good productive progress in the month of May, when they achieved a record 717 tons of that variety, which got them closer to their plan of achieving 1,300 tons at the end of December.
The MD-2 pineapple variety, which can triple the yield of the Red Spanish variety and contribute up to more than 60 tons per hectare, began to be promoted in 2012 with hybrids brought from Costa Rica. Currently, the region has more than one hundred hectares planted with this variety and prospects to continue growing.
Pineapple fields increased their production thanks to a change in the sowing system, the introduction of irrigation equipment between January and August, and a better dosage of fertilizers and biological means against pests and diseases.
The MD-2 pineapple is an excellent and large fruit that is characterized by its low acidity, while the Red Spanish pineapple has the advantage of being highly resistant to climate change and requires fewer inputs than other varieties.
In the 1980s this territory collected 31 thousand tons of pineapples a year, but later its boom began to decrease due to economic difficulties. Production, however, started to increased again since 2008.
Despite this, the cooperative-peasant sector has lagged behind in the cultivation of pineapples due to a lack of bulldozers to clear the area of Marabu, according to engineer Ezequiel Abreu Antunez, a specialist in agriculture.
Farmers from the municipality of Baragua and other towns are expected to join this fruit crusade next year, the official added.
Publication date: 11/3/2017
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