Worst Sugar Harvest In More Than A Century - Cuba Importing Sugar


Recommended Posts

I think Cuba is missing a trick here. Think what has happened with salt and pepper over the last 20 years. People don't just buy "salt" and "pepper" and more. Himalayan salt, tellicherry pepper, Icelandic salt is the current "thing". There are artisan salt producers now on islands off the west coast of Ireland. People want "different", traceability and knowledge of source.

Cuba was known for sugar for centuries. They could create a range of "heritage sugars", with terroir stated etc. I know there is somewhat of a backlash against corn syrup in some places, that'll help. The EU sugar industry was decimated when Brazil sued through the WTO over subsidies a few years ago. Ireland had to close all sugar plants because of that, though we were scapegoated. We lost the other benefits of growing sugar beet crops along with that.

Sugar hasn't had great press in the last 40 years, but neither has salt and there are new salt products every year. There is still huge demand globally for sugar. Baking has become very popular in the last 10 years and dessert baking is barely possible without sugar.

Cuban sugar will have negative connotations for many due to the history of slavery involved, but they could offset that with a percentage of profits (0.1% is a percentage, if they don't want to be too generous) going towards a "global initiative for broadening the understanding of historical cultural violations and progress towards reconciliation", do that with a "fair trade" style symbol and the hiptsers will go nuts for it.

Cuban sugar might not be possible to sell in the US, but there is a very big market in Europe, Middle East and Asia. Consumers are looking for the "new artisanal thing" in nearly every product. Sugar takes a lot of energy to refine it into the white powdery stuff we're used to. "Artisanal sugar", basically lumps of brown stuff, takes far less.

Then Cuba could use some of the profits from that to buy in cheap Brazilian sugar for the domestic market until they can ramp up production again.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the sugar cane grown in Cuba key to their rum production?  I wonder if raw materials for that product is factored in?  Otherwise we'd be hearing of rum shortages as well no? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for posting Nino. What a shame. Sugar Cane grows like a weed down there, but refining it is quite labor and input intensive. I think thats where the real bottle neck is. 

@Ryan Thats a Brilliant Idea! Way to good an idea for them to attempt it. So, I'll put my money on it never happening. Haha

@Puros Y Vino I hadnt thought of that. I thought they use "raw" sugar (Turbinado, Brown, Etc.) rather than the fully processed white sugar that gets exported. Maybe they are only quoting numbers for the fully processed stuff? I really dont know how the domestic and import markets affect each other. I sure hope they arent distilling Havana club with the Beet sugar they've been importing the last few years. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd bet money that they will prioritize rum production over refining sugar for baking/cooking. Just like the barley that ends up being used to make beer for the pigs instead of food for the other animals in Animal Farm. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love how even though cuba is only prevented from trading with the US(and can trade with literally any other country) they call it a blockade. Correct me if I am wrong, but there is no ring of ships surrounding Cuba preventing non-US countries from trading with them, correct?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Kevin48438 said:

What I find interesting also is how little China imports from Cuba.

Cubans shouldn’t worry though.  They’re using the time-tested method of problem solving, blaming others.   Some independence they have.

Historically speaking, this has always been Chinas prerogative. One way trade is the norm for china. They export to you, and import as little as possible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Kevin48438 said:

Most rum is made from molasses, which is a byproduct of refining sugarcane into white sugar.

My bad, for some reason I was thinking of rhum agricole which is obviously not Cuban. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, jvd1291 said:

I love how even though cuba is only prevented from trading with the US(and can trade with literally any other country) they call it a blockade. Correct me if I am wrong, but there is no ring of ships surrounding Cuba preventing non-US countries from trading with them, correct?

US banking system blacklists foreign corporations who conduct business with Cuba/Cuban products. That is the bigger hindrance than no direct trade with the US

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, bayala said:

US banking system blacklists foreign corporations who conduct business with Cuba/Cuban products. That is the bigger hindrance than no direct trade with the US

When Cuba allied itself with Russia and China didn't they consider that as an issue? Why cant they just take a loan out backed by Chinese banks?  China has the capacity to make virtually anything they would need. I don't see why it should be such a big hindrance. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, jvd1291 said:

They export to you, and import as little as possible.

pretty sure the aussies here would disagree... 

6 hours ago, jvd1291 said:

Why cant they just take a loan out backed by Chinese banks?  China has the capacity to make virtually anything they would need. I don't see why it should be such a big hindrance. 

I believe it's because said bank would lose their USD clearing license and would then be unable to trade with many other partners. Sure, I guess they could work something out but bearing in mind that all nations are selfish (even between supposed "allies"), why would anyone go through that trouble?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, jvd1291 said:

I love how even though cuba is only prevented from trading with the US(and can trade with literally any other country) they call it a blockade. Correct me if I am wrong, but there is no ring of ships surrounding Cuba preventing non-US countries from trading with them, correct?

In reality there are more grey areas. Spanish oil company Repsol couldn't explore for oil in Cuban water until they could prove that their chinese-made exploration rig was made of fewer than 10% US parts. That process took months. I'm not sure what the daily cost is for keeping an exploration rig idle. I'd imagine millions, very quickly. It hardly encourages other international companies to explore for oil in Cuba. International finance and business is more complicated again. After the Helms-Burton act, which extended the reach of the embargo in the 90s, international companies that do business with Cuba can be fined, and often are, if they also have an office in the US. My Irish owned bank, AIB, sells travel insurance. They have an office in the US and use a US bank to clear some funds. Their polices won't insure me for travel to Cuba, it is stated explicitly and is the only country excluded. They will insure me for travel to Syria, North Korea and South Sudan. Not Cuba. Then, try finding an international, non-US, payments provider that will allow payments for Cuban products. It's not easy. I know from experience.     

15 hours ago, Kevin48438 said:

Most rum is made from molasses, which is a byproduct of refining sugarcane into white sugar.

Yes, all Cuban rum is made from molasses, rums from other countries can be made from sugar cane juice (eg. rhum agricole). It is stated in the Cuban's Geographical Indication (GI) statement for rum, it is also known as their D.O.P. (Protected Designation of Origin) statement, like the one on the Habanos stickers.

"Article 21.1. Cuban rum is made with sugarcane molasses with low viscosity and acidity, with a high total sugar content. It has an excellent ratio of fermentable to non-fermentable sugar. Cuban molasses has a very low formation of sulfur compounds."

However, it's kind of a chicken and egg problem. A low sugar harvest will also mean lower molasses production.

3 hours ago, Nino said:

I've been seeing that alright Nino. I've been hearing of some improved supply very recently though. Word must have got out that I have a November trip booked! :)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, Meklown said:

pretty sure the aussies here would disagree... 

I believe it's because said bank would lose their USD clearing license and would then be unable to trade with many other partners. Sure, I guess they could work something out but bearing in mind that all nations are selfish (even between supposed "allies"), why would anyone go through that trouble?

To my knowledge, the main things China imports from Australia are Coal and Iron ore arent they? Even then China from my understanding pretty much controls/owns the Australian government.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, jvd1291 said:

To my knowledge, the main things China imports from Australia are Coal and Iron ore arent they? Even then China from my understanding pretty much controls/owns the Australian government.

Australia is actually a Registered Entity with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Kind of  A Quasi Corporation if you will. Wikipedia says all the conspiracy theories arent true, but we know better than that...... 😄

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commonwealth_of_Australia_(US_Corporation)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, jvd1291 said:

To my knowledge, the main things China imports from Australia are Coal and Iron ore arent they? Even then China from my understanding pretty much controls/owns the Australian government.

Yes, all sorts of ores, and also stuff like seafood and wine. Aussie exporters are suffering due to the recent political disagreements. As a result, I've been enjoying lots of cheap aussie seafood at less than half the price than before as they have to sell them off elsewhere

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, Corylax18 said:

Australia is actually a Registered Entity with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Kind of  A Quasi Corporation if you will. Wikipedia says all the conspiracy theories arent true, but we know better than that...... 😄

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commonwealth_of_Australia_(US_Corporation)

I watched a thing on this, IIRC its something to do with the national retirement plan they have, something about it required them to have a corporate backing in the US. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.

Community Software by Invision Power Services, Inc.