How cuban agriculture went from industrila to sustainable


The transition to sustainable agriculture is partly due to the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1989. The loss of Cuba‘s primary trading partner plunged Cuba into a severe economic crisis and forced drastic reductions in imports of inputs for conventional agriculture.


How did Cuba’s urban agriculture develop?

In order to tackle this grave moment, in which the Havana’s government was unable to deliver adequate food supplies to the population, Cubans were forced to develop a new method of farming: urban agriculture, hopefully a sustainable way of land exploitation and food production.

What rights did Cuban farmers have in the 1960s?

[v] Farmers had the right to enjoy the use of the soil and take advantage of its products, without necessarily owning the land. The aim of the Cuban leadership was to improve agricultural production and cut, if not eliminate, food imports into the country.

Is Cuba the most sustainable country on the planet?

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) bi-annual Living Planet Report 2016, Cuba is the most sustainable country on the planet. [xiv] Indeed, the Fund created an environmental footprint index that combines human development and the exploitation of natural resources.

What Cuban products could be sold in the United States?

Secondly, the Cuban products that could be sold in the U.S. market are numerous, among these tobacco, rum, tropical fruit, and seafood. [xxxvi] They could compete on quality, through artisanal production, non-genetic modification or other niche merchandise.


What has Cuba done for sustainable agriculture?

Since the economic crisis following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba has restructured their agriculture with a greater focus on domestic production of domestically consumed produce, and a dramatic reduction of petroleum products in all aspects of food production.

Is Cuba industrial or agricultural?

Today, agriculture is Cuba’s largest sector, employing 18 percent of working Cubans. While sugarcane remains the primary crop, and agricultural chemicals are still distributed to cooperatives, an “agroecological” sector of small farms is thriving and has become well-known around the world.

What was the immediate cause for Cuba to switch over to organic farming?

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union four years ago, Cuba’s supply of fertilizers and pesticides was cut back 80 percent, its fuel supply cut in half. Now, there is an urgent need for the country to feed its people . . . but there is no money to buy farm chemicals or oil.

What agricultural resource did Cuba have?

The Cuban economy depends heavily on the sugarcane crop. Additionally, the chief crops are rice (the main source of calories in the traditional diet), citrus fruits (which are also an important export), potatoes, plantains and bananas, cassava (manioc), tomatoes and corn (maize). Other products include cacao and beans.

What are two industries important to the Cuban economy?

The main sectors of the Cuban economy include energy production, agriculture, industry, service, and foreign investment, and trade. The country’s banking sector is not well developed, and millions of people cannot access credit facilities.

Is Cuba good for farming?

Arable land covers nearly one-third of Cuba. The soil is highly fertile, allowing up to two crops per year, but the highly variable nature of annual precipitation has historically plagued agriculture. Subterranean waters are important for irrigation.

What agricultural techniques do organic farmers in Cuba use?

Agroecological technology instead of chemicals: Cuba has used intercropping, locally produced biopesticdes, compost, and other alternatives to synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Fair Prices for Farmers: Cuban farmers stepped up production in response to higher crop prices.

What is an important industry in Cuba?

Economy of CubaStatisticsMain industriesPetroleum, nickel, cobalt, pharmaceuticals, tobacco, construction, steel, cement, agricultural machinery, sugarEase-of-doing-business rankN/A (2020)ExternalExports$2.63 billion (2017 est.)29 more rows

Why did Cuba shift to Organoponics?

Organopónicos first arose as a community response to lack of food security during the Special Period after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It is publicly functioning in terms of ownership, access, and management, but heavily subsidized and supported by the Cuban government.

What is the industrial production growth rate in Cuba?

Industrial Production in Cuba averaged 0.76 percent from 2001 until 2020, reaching an all time high of 17.80 percent in 2013 and a record low of -28.07 percent in 2006.

What is Cuba doing about soil degradation?

Havana, Sep 17 (Prensa Latina) Cuba develops a comprehensive program of soil conservation and improvement, in order to revert the degradation process of this natural resource, indispensable for food production, said today a sector’s source.

How does Cuba get their food?

Overview. The vast majority of Cuban families rely, for their food intake, on the Libreta de Abastecimiento (literally, “Supplies booklet”) distribution system, instated on 12 March 1962. The system establishes the rations each person is allowed to buy through the system, and the frequency of supplies.

What is sustainable agriculture in Cuba?

Sustainable and urban agriculture was a logical response of Cubans to their resource constraints. Traditional low-input agricultural techniques, based on organic pests’ control and crop diversification, has been the backbone of the ecological food production in Cuba. This system is also resource conserving, environmentally sound, socially inclusive, and a model to be followed by other countries. Indeed, it furthers food security and sustainable development for megacities and large towns all over the world, and it is particularly important for developing countries. The Cuban model is not perfect and the system still has ongoing problems, but it has met significant challanges in public and environmental health, even if unintended. The new uncertainty on the future of U.S.-Cuban relations has put on hold the countless economic interests that U.S. businesses, specifically in the agrarian sector, have in the island. However, the Cuban sustainable agriculture model should certainly be promoted, protected, and spread abroad. The question would be: how can this be done in the context of the current opening to the U.S. economy? This food production may be the only alternative for many developing countries fighting hunger to be able to assure the necessary sustenance to their own population and an opportunity for everyone to live in a sustainable world.

What is Cuba’s agriculture?

Until now, Cuban agriculture focused on producing for self-sufficiency and domestic consumption; there is the risk that turning to food-exports will subtract resources from this, with the subsequent worsening of the population’s living conditions.

What is the cornerstone of agroecology?

A cornerstone of agroecology is diversification of both crops and farming methods – including livestock integration– that contributes to the promotion of biodiversity and of a more efficient use of resources, such as sunlight, water, soil and natural pests.

What was the Cuban government’s response to the spontaneous citizens’ initiative?

The government soon started supporting and encouraging urban agriculture through a number of measures , which entailed the revision of property rights, a significant change for the socialist system.

Why is sustainable farming important?

Without having it as a main goal, they started to practice sustainable farming as a way of food production in order to guarantee nutritious and accessible food for everyone while natural resources are managed in a way that maintain ecosystem functions to support current as well as future human needs.

What were the first hit by supply shortfalls?

City dwellers were the first hit by supply shortfalls, and, in order to effectively respond to the food crisis, they started to occupy unproductive state lands to produce their own food. Additionally, ordinary citizens used balconies, backyards, and roof terraces for cultivation and raising livestock.

Why did farmers switch to oxen traction?

[i] Farmers had to switch to predominantly oxen traction because of fuel scarcity.

What was Cuba’s economic situation in 1991?

In 1991 the government declared the “Special Period in Peacetime, ” which basically put the country on a wartime economy style austerity program. There was an immediate 53 percent reduction in oil imports that not only affected fuel availability for the economy, but also reduced to zero the foreign exchange that Cuba had formerly obtained via the re-export of petroleum. Imports of wheat and other grains for human consumption dropped by more than 50 percent, while other foodstuffs declined even more. Cuban agriculture was faced with a drop of more than 80 percent in the availability of fertilizers and pesticides, and more than 50 percent in fuel and other energy sources produced by petroleum.

What was the food shortage in Cuba in 1995?

By mid-1995 the food shortage had been overcome, and the vast majority of the population no longer faced drastic reductions of their basic food supply. In the 1996-97 growing season Cuba recorded its highest-ever production levels for ten of the thirteen basic food items in the Cuban diet. The production increases came primarily from small farms, and in the case of eggs and pork, from booming backyard production. The proliferation of urban farmers who produce fresh produce has also been extremely important to the Cuban food supply. The earlier food shortages and the rise in food prices suddenly turned urban agriculture into a very profitable activity for Cubans, and once the government threw its full support behind a nascent urban gardening movement, it exploded to near epic proportions. Formerly vacant lots and backyards in all Cuban cities now sport food crops and farm animals, and fresh produce is soldfrom private stands throughout urban areas at prices substantially below those prevailing in the farmers markets. There can be no doubt that urban farming, relying almost exclusively on organic techniques, has played a key role in assuring the food security of Cuban families over the past two to three years.

What were the problems of the state sector?

The problems of the state sector, on the other hand, were a combination of low worker productivity, a problem pre-dating the Special Period, and the complete inability of these immense and technified management units to adapt to low-input technology. With regard to the productivity problem, planners became aware several years ago that the organization of work on state farms was profoundly alienating in terms of the relationship between the agricultural worker and the land. Large farms of thousands of hectares had their work forces organized into teams that would prepare the soil in one area, move on to plant another, weed still another, and later harvest an altogether different area. Almost never would the same person both plant and harvest the same area. Thus no one ever had to confront the consequences of doing something badly or, conversely, enjoy the fruits of his or her own labor.


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