Cuban agriculture threatened by worst drought in 115 years


FILE PHOTO: President Barack Obama meets Raul Castro of Cuba during Nelson Mandela’s memorial servicePhoto: AFP
Cuba’s agriculture is being threatened by the worst drought to hit the Caribbean in over a century.
The drought is jeopardising plans for the island to achieve its long-desired food independence.
Reports said Cuban government is currently spending about two billion dollars to import 80 per cent of the food necessary to meet the demands of its 11.2 million inhabitants.
President Raul Castro has called on Cubans to produce everything that could be harvested in the country.
Since 2008, Castro’s administration has delivered over one million hectares of state-owned unused land to at least 70,000 new farmers.
He has also eased rules and regulations for the granting of bank credits and for the free trade of food.
However, these plans are now at risk from a severe drought currently afflicting the entire Caribbean Basin.
Considered to be the worst drought in the region in 115 years, it is hitting particularly hard in Cuba.
The lack of rainfall in Cuba, which may well worsen in the coming months, has damaged thousands of hectares of sugar cane and vegetable crops, among others.
It has also forced authorities to supply water to over a million people.
A recent briefing note by the Civil Defense National Staff highlighted that the underground water sources were down compared to previous months.
It also indicated that high temperatures were increasing the evaporation rate in reservoirs. Cuba reported 10 days with record high temperatures in July alone.
Meanwhile, the Cuban Institute of Meteorology has forecast that the drought would last for the rest of 2015, coinciding with very low hurricane activity.
This is highly likely to affect water availability for the next dry season which is expected to begin in November.
Cuban and foreign forecasters agree that the current drought has largely been created by the combined …Read More

Source:: PM Newspaper