The 2011-2012 sugar harvest in Cuba was 16 percent bigger than the year before, but the results were "modest" and "insufficient" following a disappointing growing season, government officials said.

Harvest results were analyzed at a meeting of managers in the sector, at which two of the country's vice presidents, Jose Ramon Machado Ventura and Marino Murillo, complained about the deficiencies in sugar production, state television reported.

"We could have produced more sugar and we didn't do it, it escaped us, we lost it and we could have done more...We have to change, really change and we have to do things differently from the way they've been done up to now - we can't keep believing in stories and promises," Machado Ventura, the No. 2 man in the Cuban government, told managers of the sector.

The latest harvest, according to Cuban television, fell short by 68,000 tons of sugar, and though production grew by 16 percent over the previous year, "these modest results are still insufficient for the economic progress the country requires."

Marino Murillo, in charge of organizing and activating the plan of economic adjustments the nation is undertaking, criticized specific failures like the delay in getting sugar mills up and running despite the investments allocated for them.

According to a May 18 article in the daily Granma, the official voice of the ruling Communist Party, the managers of the AZCUBA sugar industry group expected "a greater surge" this year because conditions were "ideal" - and yet the harvest failed to produce the volume of sugar to which the industry had committed itself.

The 2011-2012 harvest has been marked by the restructuring of the sector following the substitution of the historic Sugar Ministry with the state business organization AZCUBA, an umbrella organization covering 13 provincial companies plus nine support and services agencies, two research institutes and a training center.

AZCUBA's mission is to inculcate better management, adopt new technologies and generate exports to finance its own operations.

According to official projections, the next sugar harvest should increase by 20 percent over the latest one's disappointing recovery following the drastic drop in 2010, when Cuba had its worst sugar harvest in 105 years. EFE