Havana: Cuba has begun to employ a new technology to produce white sugar, a measure that improves its quality, avoids the refining process and reduces the cost of manufacture, a media report said Sunday.
The technology, which to date had never been used in the island`s sugar industry, uses a sulphur salt produced in Guatemala that - once dissolved in water - directly adds to the bleaching, according to official daily Juventud Rebelde.
The procedure replaces the method of "sulphurizing" the sugarcane juice via the combustion of sulphur, which is very damaging to the environment, the report says.
The daily also reported that the sugar produced with this method can be sold for a higher price than either crude or standard refined sugar on the world market and that its use is spreading rapidly.
Rigoberto Toledo, the director of the Melanio Hernandez sugar refinery in central Sancti Spiritus province, the first to use the new technology, said that using it they will be able to optimize the production process and avoid refining the raw sugar, a situation that will reduce production costs.
That refinery is scheduled to produce between 15,000 and 17,000 tonnes of white sugar during the current harvest, all of which will be destined for local consumption.
Cuba is carrying out its current sugar harvest at a time when it is in the midst of restructuring the sector by replacing the Sugar Ministry with the Sugar Agro-industry Business Group with the aim of achieving more efficient management, employing new technologies and generating exports to finance its own expenses.
According to government forecasts, this harvest should see a 20 percent rise in sugar production, after the country in 2011 experienced a slight recovery and after the drastic plunge in the sugar harvest registered in 2010, the worst in 105 years.