HAVANA – Cuba now has more than 33,000 urban and suburban farms, a project the Communist-ruled island is promoting to increase sustainable food production in an attempt to slash costly imports.
“Urban and suburban agriculture is here to stay,” the president of the Cuban Association of Agricultural and Forestry Technicians, Idalmis Nazco, said at the inauguration of the 9th International Meeting of Organic and Sustainable Agriculture in Havana.
Among the project’s advantages, the specialist noted that since its introduction more than 15 years ago, urban and suburban agriculture has proved to be a movement toward sustainable production, with community participation and the advantage of bringing the source of produce closer to the consumer.
He said there are currently more than 33,000 urban and suburban plots dedicated to growing fruit, vegetables and other edibles, according to the Institute for Fundamental Research in Tropical Agriculture.
According to Nazco, this is an experience that has caught the interest of growers and specialists in 22 countries including Canada, Brazil, Colombia, Spain, France, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Venezuela and the United States, all taking part in the meeting that will continue until Thursday.
The delegates plan to visit farms, plots, patios and agricultural cooperatives to have a direct exchange of information with the growers.
The revival of Cuban agriculture to increase food production is considered a matter of “national security,” with the goal of reducing food imports, which last year topped $1.4 billion. EFE