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Havana PRENSA LATINA in Spanish 1225 GMT 20 Sep 71 C--FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

[Text] Havana, 20 Sep--By Pedro Martinez Pirez--Fidel Castro has urged
Cuban technicians to be realistic, practical, revolutionary, and
responsible and submitted a formula designed to improve the national
economy: Combine a maximum of impatience with a minimum of prudence in
their daily work.

Prime Minister Fidel Castro last night addressed 350 middle level
technicians at the closing of the first national sugarcane technicians
meeting which opened last Friday at the agricultural management cadre
school located in the outskirts of Havana.

During the meeting the technicians approved proposals regarding their role
in production and problems dealing with cultural, political, and technical
improvement. They also reappraised the movement of technical brigades
operating with the cooperation of the Union of Young Communists.

The young sugarcane technicians at the meeting represented the 717 middle
level sugarcane technicians currently in Cuba, who are now combining their
work with study through directed university course which will make them
agronomy engineers.

The National Institute for Agrarian Reform [INRA] Vice President Raul
Curbelo told PRENSA LATINA that 500 of these middle level technicians will
become agronomy engineers in 1974. This will be the largest number of
sugarcane technicians that Cuba has ever had.

It was also reported at the meeting that out of the 4,000 students in the
country's technical institutes, 1,500 student-workers are also taking

However, Fidel Castro stated last night that the number of students
registered in these institutes is insufficient, taking into account the
country's economic structure, which is based on agricultural-livestock
raising, especially sugarcane growing.

He said that for many years the sugar industry will continue to be the
country's main resource and urged the sugarcane agronomy technicians to
help with their work and their knowledge to bring about greater
productivity in the agricultural phase of the sugar production which can be
attained with better strain of cane and more care in cultivation.

Fidel Castro said that Cuba will insist on the efforts being made to
mechanize sugarcane cutting and will continue using the so-called
Australian method, which includes cane burning, to increase the
productivity of the cane cutters and to save manpower which, as in 1970,
cannot be taken from other important economic areas and transferred to the
sugarcane harvest. Three types of canecutting machines are now being tested
in Cuba, one of them invested by Cuban engineers.

Castro recalled the industrial deficiencies and the high cost of the great
1970 sugarcane harvest in which Cuba obtained the record figure of 8.5
million metric tons of sugar. He said that it will not be until 1974 that
Cuba will have paid off 100 percent of the huge industrial investments made
in the sugar mills prior to 1970.

The Cuban leader reiterated his government's sugar policy, aimed at
gradually moving toward larger harvests until obtaining, with half of the
material and manpower costs, an annual production of 10 million tons of
sugar. He did not mention the year this objective will be accomplished. He
admitted that the next harvest, corresponding to 1972, will produce less
than the previous one which did not reach six million tons. The difference
between the planned production--7.6 million tons--and the final results
represented a loss of between 80 and 100 million dollars in foreign
currency for the country.

Castro spoke optmistically about the current and future prices of sugar in
the international market, adding that the annual rate representing more
consumption than production will be a permanent trend because of the fast
growth of the world's population.

This unfavorable balance of world consumption over production has caused
sugar reserves to hit their lowest level between 15 to 16 million tons.
Castro told the sugarcane agronomy technicians that Cuba, because of
historic reasons and natural conditions, should aspire to have the most
developed sugarcane agriculture in the world. He advised the sugarcane
technicians not to work in dogmatic manner and not to discard offhand the
various cane varieties existing in the country and urged them to thoroughly
investigate which specific variety is most suitable to each zone of area,
departing from the principle of achieving the highest sugar yields. For
economic reasons, he said, the country must continue effecting savings in
the use of herbicides which have to be obtained in the dollar area markets.

He predicted that beginning with the 1973 harvest the country will begin a
stage of uninterrupted growth in sugar production. He also confirmed that
sugarcane grinding will begin in November this year.

Castro advised the technicians to assume a fraternal attitude toward the
workers and not to adopt a self-sufficient attitude in their work. Man is
wiser as he better recognizes his limitations, Castro stated emphatically.

The Cuban prime minister criticized those who are not sensitive to nature.
The ignorant cannot see the beauty of agriculture which demonstrates life
in its most interesting and beautiful form, Castro said. There is nothing
more existing than agriculture, he added.

The Cuban leader also praised the technicians who were present at the
meeting when he said that they had followed the path of study and work from
the most basic levels to the university.

He predicted that, beginning with elementary instruction, the new
generation will be associated with agriculture and will work in orchards
close to each Cuban school.

Present at the meeting addressed by Prime Minister Fidel Castro were
Education Minister Belarmino Castilla, National Harvest Chief Diocles
Torralba, Communications Minister Jesus Montane, INRA Vice President Raul
Curbelo, and other Cuban leaders.

At the conclusion of the speech, which lasted over 3 hours, Castro
conversed with the sugarcane agronomists and suggested that they become an
army of revolutionary propagandists in the sugar sector.