Latin American Network Information Center - LANIC

Castro Tours Pinar del Rio Agoindustrial Center

FL1304204089 Havana Tele-Rebelde Network in Spanish 1700 GMT 13 Apr 89

[An identical version of this report was broadcast on Havana Television
Service at 0000 GMT on 14 April providing fills and additional material.]

[Text]  Commander in Chief Fidel Castro visited several areas of the 30 de
Noviembre agroindustrial complex in Pinar del Rio Province in the afternoon
of Tuesday 11 April  There he examined the work being carried out with the
plot drainage system in the complex cane fields.  [Video shows Castro in an
open field talking to a group of people with announcer voiceover.]

Together with the agriculture and sugar industry ministers and members of
the complex leadership and technicians.  Fidel analyzed the yield in the
care areas where the plot drainage system has already been used and
substantial increases can already be noticed.  In his tour through various
fields in different stages of the process Fidel showed interest in the use
of scrapers, levelers, trucks, and other equipment, as well as the
characteristics of the area's soil and the improvement projects needed.
[Video shows Castro meeting in a room with a group of people.]

During a meeting in which national and provincial leaders of the sugar
industry sector also participated, the commander in chief analyzed in
detail the situation created by the plot drainage brigades available in the
country and the need to create 73 other brigades this year.  He instructed
that they be taken to areas where this modern and highly productive system
of soil improvement and use are needed the most.

Later, at the Jose Marti sugar complex, Fidel participated in the ceremony
held to mark the fact that Pinar del Rio Province was the first province in
the country to fulfill its sugar production plan, which in its case was
208,000 tons.  The province also fulfilled last Sunday, 9 April, its
production plan of 15,000 tons of refined sugar, has exceeded so far by 30
caballerias its sugarcane planting plan, it is fulfilling its weeding plan
and up to now has fulfilled 280 percent of its investment plan.  [Video
shows Castro speaking to a group of people outside a building with
announcer voiceover.]

Speaking to workers and a large number of people gathered there.  Fidel
noted how important the projects being carried out in the province and
country for the creation of engineering systems are for rice growing.  They
increase rice yields by over 50 percent, save around 40 percent of the
water needed for irrigation thus making better use of it, and make work
productivity in flooders four times better, consequently using less labor

The commander in chief mentioned that over 3,000 rice caballerias from
Pinar del Rio Province will be incorporated to the engineering system.  To
do this, 120 million cubic meters of soil will have to be moved.  The work
can be completed within 7 years if it is done by six brigades.  He said the
magnitude of this effort is entirely justified because it enables a
response to the foodstuff needs of a population that is in constant growth.
Since the land used for agriculture does not increase, the solution lies in
the substantial increase of yields.

[Begin Castro recording]  We are implementing a very new system in
sugarcane planting.  It is called a plot drainage system.  There are about
60,000 caballerias of flat land in the country.  We could say they are low
lands.  The country has approximately 135,000 caballerias and it will have
a total of 150,000.  These 60,000 caballerias are in the sort of land
similar to the one you have here.  They are located south of Camaguey or
north of Camaguey, or north of Las Villas, or in some place in Matanzas, or
in Rio Cauto.  They are 60,000 caballerias.

A lot of times, too much water harms cane more than the lack of it because
water accumulates and harms plants very much.  This can happen even in
years of a drought.  A downpour of 50 or 60 millimeters can fall during a
drought year.  Water accumulates in the fields and affects cane yield.
This is in addition to the drought.  So sometimes there is not enough water
and other times there is too much.

We are making a big effort with sugarcane and rice harvesting.  We hope to
have one irrigated caballeria out of every two caballerias of cane so we
depend less on these drought situations.  This is why we are making big
efforts in the entire country by building dams and canals.  We are making
enormous efforts in building irrigation equipment.  We are already
implementing very modern techniques in our agriculture.  They have a great

The province has fulfilled its sugar production plan and is going to
contribute 25,000 more tons.  Listen, 25,000 more tons of sugar are greatly
needed at this time.  You can't even imagine how much.  [applause]

As you see, the province is make progress.  This year the province will
have a highway linking the capital with the province and all these
municipalities.  In a few days, the mountain is going to have its road
linking it completely.  Roads will continue to be built in the mountains.
The province will have a two-way track railroad.  So, if you do not want to
travel by bus, you can get on the train.  You can go to Havana or Pinar del
Rio.  I warn you that it is better to go to Pinar del Rio.  [laughter]
Life is more peaceful there.  Don't you think like is better in Havana.
Some have believed this and are later disappointed.  Life is more peaceful
there.  I tell you life is better in the provinces.

In addition, the provinces have developed.  It used to be that one had to
go to Havana in order to find a good hospital and see if one could be
found.  Where can a hospital be found now? [indistinct crowd response] A
hospital can be found around the corner.

Anyway, the province will have all these communications services.  It is
going to be one of the provinces with better communications services.
Agriculture is developing in the provinces, the mountains are developing in
the provinces, sugarcane and rice harvesting are developing, pig and
poultry breeding are developing.  In sum, we are seeing development...
[changes thought] Industry is developing in the provinces.  The provinces
now have an industry that nobody would have dreamed of in the future
[corrects himself] in the past--the electronics industry, for example.  I
do not know if any of you [rephrases] some of you must have visited it.  It
is a sophisticated thing.  It is a matter of pride that the province that
was once called... [leaves sentence unfinished]  What was the name of this
province?  [indistinct crowd response] Who remembers this, man?

Its infant mortality rate is 10 percent now.  Its infant mortality rate is
better than that of Washington.  This place was the land of the latifundio.
Do you understand?  the province's education services are developing.  For
example, Pinar del Rio's medical school is one of the best ones in the
country.  Engels School is one of the best in the country.  Schools in
Sandino are excellent schools.  Medical services are developing.  Sports
are developing.  What is not being developed in this province?

This is why I am very pleased to be able to be here this afternoon.  When I
heard that a meeting was going to take place here, that there was going to
be a celebration, not a party but a celebration for the success of having
fulfilled the harvest plan and other commitments, and that you had not
wasted a single liter of oil.  I told Comrade Fidel [Ramos, first secretary
of the party in Pinar del Rio Province]  Fidel, I am going there to greet
the Jose Marti sugar mill workers and greet the people.  [applause and
laughter]  Congratulations.  [applause]  You are paying the way.  [end

After the ceremony, the commander in chief toured the construction site of
the railroad being built by Blas Roca contingent's brigades No. 13 and 14.
There, he showed interest in the performance of mechanical diggers and
other equipment.  He asked about details related to the width of the
grubbing and other aspects of the project and checked the progress of the
work performed.  This confirms the high levels of organization, quality,
and productivity provided by the construction contingent concept.  [Castro
seen talking to workers at construction site]

[Begin Castro recording]  Right.  Well, see you later, comrade.  [end