HAVANA: Organic farming occupies a key position in the Cuban government’s strategy to increase national food production, a high-ranking official at the Ministry of Agriculture has said.
“Organic farming is part of a strategic system to successfully go through difficult circumstances imposed by the (COVID-19) pandemic worldwide,” Elizabeth Pena, head of the National Group of Urban, Suburban and Family Agriculture told media in a recent interview as her country implements economic measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic and tightening of the U.S. embargo against the island.
Although “scientific research in Cuba was first applied to organic agriculture practices 50 years ago,” it was not until the late 1980s that it gained ground on the island, giving birth to what was later known as the urban agriculture movement.
In December 1987, Raul Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, proposed extending organic farming nationwide by growing vegetables in family gardens and urban allotments, she said.
“We are producing 1.2 million tons of vegetables a year at organic farms, including intensive gardens, greenhouses, and high-tech farms,” she said.
Currently, more than 707,000 gardens and close to 147,000 suburban farms are part of a national movement aimed at increasing family self-supply and food production at the local level, Pena said.–Agencies