Havana, Cuba 11 January 2017 – Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior, arrived in Cuba for the first time to host a conversation between Mexican scientists and farmers and their Cuban counterparts, responsible for researching and practising large scale ecological farming on the island for over two decades.
“While many people have heard about Cuba’s efficient healthcare system, few have heard about the island’s innovative ecological food system. Unlike many of its Latin American counterparts that have succumbed to the impacts of industrial chemical agriculture, Cuba has leaped forward with the help of its scientists and farmers. Cuba is currently producing 65% of the island’s food production, on at least 25% of its farmland, without the use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers or genetically engineered (GE) crops. We’re here to learn from the Cuban model,” said Aleira Lara, Programme Leader of the Food and Agriculture campaign at Greenpeace Mexico.
During the five day trip, the delegation will visit at least five farms using ecological farming techniques that could be replicated in Mexico and other parts of the world.
The current industrial food system is fundamentally broken and needs to change. It is based on monocultures, large plantations of a single crop, that require continuous amounts of hazardous pesticides and synthetic fertilisers to produce commodity crops destined for animal feed, biofuel production or used as ingredients in junk food. This system is hurting farmers, driving deforestation, polluting the soil and water, and contributing up to 24% of all manmade greenhouse gas emissions .
“Half of the world’s hungry people belong to smallholder farming communities. We want to learn from Cuba’s successful experience with smallholder farmers, as they produce enough healthy food to feed themselves and also grow 90% of the fruit and vegetables that the country consumes. Cuba’s investment in ecological farming and smallholders can be an example for the world,” added Reyes Tirado, Food and Agriculture Researcher at Greenpeace Research Laboratory at the University of Exeter, UK.
According to the UN World Food Program, in the last 50 years Cuba has largely eradicated poverty and hunger, thanks to comprehensive social protection programmes. It ranked 67th out of 188 countries for Human Development, and itis among the most successful in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) .
Since 80% of its population lives in cities, Cuba has also pioneered new ways to produce food directly in urban areas, making its urban farming program another example to learn from in times of rampant urbanisation around the world. Today, Cuban urban farmers supply about 50% of the vegetables and fruits consumed locally, a share that has continued to increase in recent years. The program of Urban Farming is one of the seven most important programs prioritised by Cuba’s Minister of Agriculture. The program has created about 300,000 jobs in cities, with 50% of those going to women and urban youth ).
More information about eco farming in Cuba can be found at:
Rosset, P.M., B. Machín-Sosa, A.M. Roque-Jaime and D.R. Avila-Lozano. 2011. The Campesino-to-Campesino agroecology movement of ANAP in Cuba. Journal of Peasant Studies, 38(1), 161–91
Funes Aguilar and Vázquez Moreno. 2016. Avances de la Agroecología en Cuba. Estación Experimental de Pastos y Forrajes India Hatuey (Ed), La Habana, Cuba.
 Human Development Index and its components. United Nations Development Program (UNPD). Human Development Reports. 2015.
 Funes Aguilar and Vázquez Moreno. 2016. Avances de la Agroecología en Cuba. Estación Experimental de Pastos y Forrajes India Hatuey (Ed), La Habana, Cuba.
Aleira Lara, Programme Leader, Food and Agriculture campaign, Greenpeace Mexico. +52 1 55 4084 5319, firstname.lastname@example.org
Greenpeace International Press Desk, +31 (0)20 718 2470 (available 24 hours), email@example.com