Revolutionizing food production in cuba
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Revolutionizing Food Production in Cuba. State Support (Institutions). Founded 1987 NGO ACTAF’s Goal:. ACTAF Conference VI Encuentro de Agricultura Orgánica y Sostenible. ACTAF’s Soil Institute. Produces:

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Revolutionizing Food Production in Cuba

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Revolutionizing Food Production in Cuba

State Support


  • Founded 1987

  • NGO

  • ACTAF’s Goal:

ACTAF ConferenceVI Encuentro de Agricultura Orgánica y Sostenible

ACTAF’s Soil Institute

  • Produces:

    • Rhizobium & Azospirillum&Azobacter —bacteria fix atmospheric nitrogen; reduce use of N fertilizer 25-100%

    • Azotofos (free-living)—enhances availability of phosphorus;

      reduces N fertilizer 50%

    • Fosforina (microbial biofertilizer)—makes phosphorus available to plants, replaces 50-75% of phosphorus fertilizer & 25% of nitrogen fertilizer

    • Mycorrhizal fungi extend plant roots

Instituto de Investigaciones de Sanidad Vegetal, Ministerio de la Agricultura(INISAV)

  • Founded 1977

Beneficial Predators

  • Lacewing eggs

    • Are planted in a

      tray with maize

      for 45 days

  • 1 egg is placed in each division where larvae develop

  • Chrysopa larvae are “voracious predators”

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) – Began 1982

  • Cuba has 67 plant protection stations, 2254 professionals, 3051 technicians

  • 283 CREEs – Entomophage and Entomopathogen Reproduction Centers


  • Entomophagous organisms

    • Wasps (Trichogramma, Tetrastichus)

    • Flies (Lixophaga, Eucelatoria)

  • Entomopathogens

    • Bacteria (Bacillus thuringiensis)

    • Fungi (Beauveria bassiana, Verticillium lecanii)



  • IPM: Integrated pest management

    • Response to Green Revolution Pesticide Treadmill (also eliminated beneficial pests)

    • Input substitution – corrective approach

  • APM: Agroecological pest management

    • Focus on pest prevention

    • Genetic & species diversity

    • Selection of resistant varieties

    • Crop rotations

    • Cropping schedules

Use of Chemicals in Cuba

(1000s of Tons)

75% reduction in use of chemical pesticides



Founded 1962

  • Centro de Investigaciones Agropecuarios, Universidad Central Marta Abreu de las Villas

  • First research center outside of Havana

  • The 1st Law of Certification of Organic Products resulted from a CIAP seminar

  • Trains students from


    Latin America

CIAP’s Mission

CIAP is divided into



& experiment stations

CIAP's Experiment Station

  • Produces all the food required by the university

  • Soil is a complex living being—


    topography, time,

    structure, texture,

    water, chemicals,

    biology, plant roots,



Instituto Politécnico Agropecuario “Villa-Revolución”

  • Founded in 1962

  • 1000s of its

    graduates are

    playing an

    important role

    in Cuban


  • Ing. Nelson Rujas:

    “La producción sostenible es nuestro producto”

  • Students engage in practical work,

    cultivating 708 has.

    • “aprendiendo haciendo”

    • No inputs are brought in

      – totally self-sustaining

  • Today the goal is healthy, chemical-free food; a frequent comment was the desire for Cuba to create a healthy future for the children and future generations

  • The suicide rate in Cuba has dropped due to the unavailability of pesticides!

Organized PeopleThe Key: Participatory Research


  • 1961 – creation of ANAP, CCS’s

  • 1975 – creation of CPAs

  • 1993 – creation of UBPCs

  • All cooperatives in Cuba are voluntary

60% of Campesinos Belong to Cooperatives, Cultivate 72% Land

  • 1219 CPAs

    • 60,266 members

    • 772,500 hectares

  • 2781 CCS’s

    • 163,800 members

    • 962,300 hectares

  • 2643 UBPCs

    • 257,000 members

    • 3,000,000 hectares

  • 1993: “Third Agrarian Reform”

    • 80% of state farms were broken up into UBPCs

    • Land under State control dropped from

      82% to 24%

Campesinos Play a Key Role in State Policy

  • Unlike other countries, in Cuba there is no risk that campesinos will disappear

  • Their principal ally is the State, which gave land, credit, subsidized prices, markets, AND fosters campesino identity

9000 Campesinos

8000 Promoters

Campesino a CampesinoMovement

Campesino a CampesinoPhilosophy

  • Based on theoretical & practical work of Brazilian educator Paulo Freire

  • Horizontal communication between learner & teacher

  • Praxis of reflection-

    action-reflection to build

    political consciousness

    & social transformation

Why Campesino a Campesino?

  • Knowlege is shared horizontally, combining skills with mobilization of campesino organizational strategies

1ST Campesino a Campesino Workshop in Cuba in 1996

  • In 1997 ANAP sponsored the VII International Congress of the Campesino a Campesino movement

  • “Our urban economy had hit bottom.At that moment Cuba was going through a very critical period.

  • People worked out of pure solidarity & altruism.

    We gave workshops & people put what they learned into practice”


  • are campesinos & members of cooperatives who assume a commitment of solidarity with their associates

  • They promote by teaching & demonstrating agroecological techniques

  • They apply pedagogical techniques on their fincas & teach other campesinos to apply the techniques

Yeikel, 18, Youth Worker

Agroecological knowledge ALSO

challenges the centralized,

hierarchical structures of

traditional agriculture

What Makes It All Work?

  • Cuba maintains relative economic equality for all, offers State assistance in the form of free education, free health care, and guaranteed employment, sends its highly skilled medical and environmental specialists around the world to help other nations,

  • And in the wake of Soviet collapse and the U.S. blockade, put into place an environmentally sustainable, chemical-free, organic agricultural system that turns attention to the causes of inequity, poverty, and food scarcity

  • Prioritization of the social good over individual accumulation constitutes one factor that makes the system work.

  • People are committed to food self-sufficiency, rather than profit, and their hearts and souls are devoted to that end. They are passionate about ensuring that everyone has food and that foods produced are healthy and chemical free

  • A social consciousness places people and nature above material wealth. It is a system that is socially just, grounded in culture, and aims for equity.

¡Globalizamos la Lucha!

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