The Cuban Ministry of Agriculture has reportedly announced a major investment project to return the nation’s citrus production to its former glory following a period of dramatic decline brought on by a lack of resources, weather-related damage and over production.
In the 1990s, Cuba’s citrus volumes hovered around the 1m-tonne mark, but fell to just 288,000 tonnes in 2006 and 370,000 tonnes last year.
The key to the project will be intensive rather than extensive planting, Jorge Luis Hernández, vice-president of the fruit industry association at the Cuban Ministry of Agriculture told a local newspaper.
“What is important is that we achieve greater efficiency in the production of citrus,” Mr Hernández commented.
Under the project, planted area will reduce from 112,000ha to just 30,000-40,000ha and will be planted with varieties more resistant to disease, complete with better technological and irrigation systems.
Cuba exports the bulk of its citrus crop to Europe, including oranges and grapefruit which account for 95 per cent of the island's total production. The nation also produces, albeit on a smaller scale, lemons, limes and mandarins.