CUBA (1 October)
Hurricane “Ivan” in mid-September affected the western provinces of Pinar del Rio and La Habana and the municipality of Isla de la Juventud, with losses of citrus, tobacco and plantain crops. The effective precautionary measures taken by the Government, which included the evacuation of over 2 million persons before the passage of the hurricane, successfully avoided losses of human lives. Hurricane “Ivan” followed hurricane “Charley” that in mid-August hit the north-western provinces of La Havana and Ciudad de La Habana, destroying infrastructure and causing damages to food and cash crops, including citrus (oranges and grapefruits), sugar cane, plantain, yucca and vegetables. Damages were also reported to the poultry sector. However, rains resumed in mid-September in the eastern provinces of Camaguey, Holguin and Las Tunas giving some relief to the food crops affected by prolonged drought. Harvest of the 2004 main paddy crop just started and production is expected to be about 650 000 tonnes, a significant decline from last year record production of 716 000 tonnes due to reduced availability of irrigation water. Rice import requirements for marketing year 2004 (January/December) are forecast at 600 000 tonnes.