Havana — A senior Cuban official has urged sugar workers to produce more than 1.7-million tonnes of raw sugar during the coming 2018-2019 harvest, state-run television reported, following the island’s disastrous crop the previous season. “The last harvest was difficult. It failed to produce 300,000 tonnes of sugar that was already sold,” state-run media quoted Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, second secretary of ruling Communist Party, as saying. He urged the sector to meet this season’s goal. Cuba rarely meets its harvest target, but the need is especially pressing this year after the poor 2017-2018 harvest. For the first time in nearly a decade, the country has been importing some refined sugar from France to be able to provide the sugar component of the basic food rations allocated to every family. The Caribbean island, once a major sugar exporter, produced 1.8-million tonnes of raw sugar in 2016-2017 and exported 1.1-million tonnes, according to the International Sugar Organisation. ...

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