Unfinished Puzzle: Cuban agriculture – the challenges, lessons and opportunities

Eduardo Francisco Freyre Roach and May Ling Chan | 12.01.2012

Why is the Cuban experience so unique in terms of sustainable agriculture, local development, agrarian reform, food security and food sovereignty? This book provides a rare view from inside Cuba of the tension between food sovereignty and the struggle for food security in the face of a 50-year U.S. embargo.

Description

Cuba is widely recognized for its social achievements including healthcare, education, social security, subsidized food and other benefits and opportunities. For more than 50 years, this Caribbean island has defended and sustained these economic, political, social and cultural gains, and has maintained a commitment to humanitarianism and international solidarity that persists to this day.

Part one of Unfinished Puzzle describes the socioeconomic context of Cuban agriculture, the natural environment that affect it and the international political context in which it has developed. Part two explores the unique agricultural policies Cubans implemented to confront the food and economic crises of the early 1990s. Finally, part three examines the lessons to be learned from the Cuban experience with respect to local development, sustainable agriculture, agroecology, food security and food sovereignty. The book also highlights the elements of the Cuban system most suitable for replication in other countries facing similar circumstances or challenges.

Paperback, ISBN 978-0-935028-42-3 $14.95

E-book, ISBN 978-0-935028-40-9 $11.95

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Unfinished Puzzle is an important and useful contribution to understanding the complex agricultural challenges facing a courageous people who are battling a superpower that is yet to reconcile itself to Cuba’s existence as a sovereign socialist country.

About the Authors

May Ling Chan worked with Oxfam Hong Kong in Asia and Africa for over 12 years. She conducted research on agricultural policy, agroecology and incentive strucutres for sustainable production from 2005 to 2009 at the Agrarian University of Havana (UNAH). Eduardo Francisco Freyre Roach, PhD has been a professor at the Agrarian University of Havana (UNAH) for 27 years, specializing in rural sociology, sustainable agriculture and bioethics.

Praise for  Unifinished Puzzle

“Unfinished Puzzle is an important and useful contribution to understanding the complex agricultural challenges facing a courageous people who are battling a superpower that is yet to reconcile itself to Cuba’s existence as a sovereign socialist country.”

– Venkatesh Athreya, M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation

“The ‘unfinished Puzzle’ refers to the challenge of overcoming the Cuban agricultural paradox. Despite great agroecological advances…why does Cuba still import substantial amounts of Food? Why is agroecology considered an “alternative,” and only supported under scenarios of economic scarcity? This book helps to address this unfinished puzzle.”

– Miguel Altieri, President, Latin American Scientific Society of Agroecology (SOCLA)

Download the Table of Contents.

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