- François-Xavier Branthôme
- 2020 Season
The Cuban press announced in January the launch of the harvest and processing season in the various regions of the island on January 6, "in accordance with the production schedule for the year", and in particular the opening of the La Conchita plant, which aims to process 12 500 tonnes of tomatoes this year. However, it seems that the tomato season, which should have started on 1 January, started a few days late due to the slow ripening of the fruit.
Factory director Idalberto Rodríguez Herrera said that all of the tomato delivered to La Conchita, located in the western province of Pinar del Rio, is provided by agricultural operators in the region, but that the company's supplies are also open to contracts with other production areas, located for example in the Artemisa region, which supplied a certain volume during last season.
Herrera stated that during the entire season, which should last from January to April, regional supervisors will be collaborating with company managers to carry out the relevant quality checks and focus on productive maintenance programs. Their aim will be to encourage rationalization initiatives aimed at avoiding downtime due to technical obsolescence.
He also stressed that the processing plant will be running at a rate of two intensive operational teams per day, regardless of the quantities to be processed, one of which will start after peak consumption hours in order to contribute to energy savings in the country. In this context, Herrera explained that since the quantities delivered to the factory are still moderate, only the production line with the lowest capacity is used, able to process a total of 180 tonnes per day. He also confirmed that La Conchita had all the packaging formats necessary for carrying out January’s processing operations, i.e. around fifteen different options corresponding to sauces, purees and pastes distributed on the national market, to which can now be added a new two-liter container that the factory had never used before in its production.
In 2019, processing targets for Cuba as a whole were set at 79 000 tonnes, but total factory deliveries ultimately did not exceed 23 000 tonnes. The initial plan was to aim at the production of 19 000 tonnes of different types of finished products (tomato puree, "vita nuova", pizza sauce, tomato frito, juice, etc.), but difficulties linked to procuring the raw materials (quantities, routing, quality, etc.) reduced the volumes actually produced to only 6 700 tonnes, or only around 35% of initial forecasts.
Source: guerrillero.cu, venceremos.cu