HAVANA, May 29 (Xinhua) -- Cuba is about to end the 2011-2012 sugar production season at the weekend with a 16 percent increase over the previous season, but below the government-set target, an industry official said here Tuesday.
Osiris Quintero, analysis and information director of Cuba's state-run sugar producer Azcuba, said the 1.32 million tons production figure was shy of the government's target of 1.45 million tons, yet 16 percent above last season's total, signalling reforms of the island nation's sugar industry had been effective, according to the official NNTV.
"In general, sugar production improved significantly with a profit of more than 176 million pesos (about 7 million U.S. dollars)," Quintero said, adding sugar producers around the country had performed well.
Meanwhile, Cuban Vice President Jose Machado Ventura said at a meeting of industry officials, "We could have produced more sugar and we did not."
"We need to change, change for real, we must do things differently than how they have been done so far. No more stories or promises, but results," he said.
The 2011-2012 is the first production season after Castro implemented reforms to modernize the sector, including dissolving the Sugar Ministry and replacing it with the more free market-style Azcuba, a company with representations in every province.
For over a century, Cuba was among the world's top sugar exporters, exceeding 8 million tons annually. But the industry collapsed after the fall of the Soviet Union, Cuba's main economic ally.
Cuba's domestic market consumes about 600,000 tons of sugar a year, while 400,000 tons are exported to China and the rest are sold on the international market.