HAVANA, Sept.25 (Xinhua) -- Cuban's Coffee Development Program has achieved little progress in improving the country's coffee production, said Felix Gonzalez, president of the National Association of Small Farmers (ANAP) on Wednesday.
The program aimed to recover Cuba's coffee yields by 2020 to 30,000 tons, a historic harvest record made in the 1970s.
Hardly has any progress been made in the renovation of plantations, fertilization, nurseries campaign and the coffee yields, the official told a national meeting of coffee producers, held in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba.
He said promoting the program depends more on subjective factors since material resources, though sometimes obtained late, are available.
Santiago de Cuba is the biggest coffee producer of the country and the forum gathers 300 of the best farmers involved in the national movement for recovering local coffee production.
Coffee is the prime farm product in Cuba's mountainous areas. Gonzalez stressed that cultivating the grain is not a matter of simply digging a hole and planting the seeds in it.
It takes a lot of work, knowledge and effort by all those participating in the agro-industrial process, the official said.
Among the problems in the program, the ANAP leader highlighted bureaucracy in the granting of bank credits while serving the farmers.
He also mentioned an increased amount of land owned by those who don't know how to cultivate the plant.
To achieve self-independence in food production in the island country, President Raul Castro has distributed over a million hectares of idle land to about 170, 000 people interested in working on them. But many of them turned out to be green hands in farming, which adversely affected their production.
Since President Castro took office in 2008, Cuba has hoped to increase its domestic production of coffee, a highly consumed product in the country.
Cuba has spent about 40 million U.S. dollars a year on the purchase of coffee on international market.
About 80 percent of the coffee consumed by the Cubans need to be imported at a cost of around 2 billion dollars every year.
Castro has warned that the country, affected by a two-decade crisis, cannot continue affording millions of dollars of such expenses and urged to recover the national production.
Cuba imported 18,000 tons of semi-processed grains from Vietnam in 2010 at a cost of 38 million dollars. The authorities have not yet released figures of the following year.
During 2011 to 2012, 7,100 tons of the crop were harvested, representing an increase by 10 percent over the planned 6,443 tons and 24 percent compared to the previous season.
Local experts estimated that the final results this year could amount to nearly 5,300 tons.
The country hoped the 2016 production can reach 15,000 tons, although that figure is still insufficient compared with a 24,000-ton target required for domestic consumption and export.
The Cuban government plans to keep the coffee output at between 28,000 tons and 30,000 tons a year, the same as the level in the 1970s.