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A monthly news brief highlighting news and events related to
agriculture, food and the environment in Cuba.

January News and Events

Dear Friends,

Please find below a summary of the news for January as well as information on two upcoming events - the ACTAF Agroecology Encounter in May and the Inter-American Climate Change Congress in June. News highlights include: the role of urban agriculture in achieving food self-sufficiency in Cuba, the nomination of the Costa Viva project for this year's Energy Globe award in the youth category, the recognition of traditional Cuban food (including casabe) as part of the country's national heritage, the opening of Cuba's first bio-electric plant, and Cuba's work in advancing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as laid out by the United Nations. 


La agricultura urbana en el autoabastecimiento alimentario
“Urban agriculture in food self-sufficiency”
*Article posted in Spanish
Granma, January 3rd, 2020
Having reached a production of 1,064,814 tons of fresh vegetables and condiments by November 2019, the Urban, Suburban and Family Agriculture Program has demonstrated its potential for achieving food sovereignty in Cuba. In particular, the production of food in household plots is emphasized by the program, as these are important spaces for encouraging food self-sufficiency at the local level. The linking of these spaces to the food system remains a priority, since most of what is produced by these household plots is either used for family consumption or commercialized locally through markets. Special attention is also being given to seed production, due to its relevance to avoid foreign exchange expenses and guarantee planting material.


Cumanayagua marca pautas para el sistema de la Agricultura en Cuba
“Cumanayagua sets guidelines for the agriculture system in Cuba”
*Article posted in Spanish
By: Armando Sáez Chávez, 5th de Septiembre Periodico, January 6th, 2020
The Minister of Agriculture in Cuba, Gustavo Rodríguez Rollero, recently evaluated the progress of the livestock, coffee and citrus programs in the municipality of Cumanayagua in Cienfuegos province. For the coffee industry, Cumanayagua aims to secure future production by using certified seed, soil management, integrated management, as well as irrigation and the application of graft technology. During the evaluation, Rodríguez Rollero insisted that the agricultural sector in Cuba is aimed at ensuring food for Cubans. In order to achieve this, it is necessary that the government support as many initiatives and alternatives as possible to face the limitations of fuel and supplies.


Campesinos por acompañar al país cuando más se necesita
“Farmers for accompanying the country when it is most needed”
*Article posted in Spanish
By: Gabriela Roig Rosell, 5th de Septiembre Periodico, January 6th, 2020
The farmers of Aguada de Pasajeros held an assembly recently in which they discussed the productive, economic and social commitments of the territory. In the municipality, thirteen cooperatives are integrated into the Vanguard Political-Productive Movement. However, its members do not feel stimulated because they do not receive differentiated attention in relation to other cooperatives that do not belong to that movement. At the end of the assembly, provincial president Yazmín Jiménez, of the peasant association in Cienfuegos, recognized the work of the cooperatives and reaffirmed their commitment to the country at a time when they are most needed.

President of Cuba attends international culinary event
Prensa Latina, January 10th, 2020
Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, and Prime Minister Manuel Marrero participated today in the inauguration of an international culinary event that aims to promote the values of national cuisine. The two officials attended the opening of the II 'Cuba Sabe' International Workshop 2020. More than 200 delegates from Cuba, the United States, Mexico, Spain and Italy, are participating in the event, which includes workshops, conferences, tours and tastings. The workshop is an opportune space to explore regional cuisine and the typical dishes of each Cuban territory, such as casabe, a traditional kind of bread made in the eastern part of the country.

Nominan a proyecto Costa Viva a premio internacional Energy Globe
“Costa Viva project nominated for international Energy Globe award”
*Article posted in Spanish
By: Annia Pacheco Palomares, Radio Granma, January 9th, 2020
The Costa Viva project, organized by students from the University of Granma, is one of the nominees for the International Energy Globe Award in the youth category. Energy Globe, is the most prestigious environmental award in the world, awarded to the best scientific solutions to fight climate change. Projects nominated for the annual contest focuses on ideas related to the conservation of resources, the improvement of air and water quality, energy efficiency and renewable energies. The Costa Viva project is already the recipient of the 2019 Provincial Environment Award for its social impact on coastal areas vulnerable to the effects of climate change. 

Venta de calentadores solares para el sector residencial en Holguín 
“Sale of solar heaters for the residential sector in Holguín”
*Article posted in Spanish
By: Maribel Flamand Sánchez, ¡ahora! , January 9th, 2020
As part of the development of renewable sources and the efficient use of energy in Cuba, the sale of solar-powered water heaters to the residential sector recently began in the province of Holguín. The technology, which costs 2945 Cuban convertible pesos (CUP), has a capacity of 90 liters, reaches a temperature above 50 degrees Celsius, and must be exposed to the sun at least six hours each day. For Cubans that are interested in the technology, it is also suggested that a specialist review the placement of the equipment to evaluate where it should be most optimally located.

Campesinos de Ciego de Ávila pueden aportar más alimentos
“Farmers of Ciego de Ávila can provide more food”
*Article posted in Spanish
By: Pastor Batista Valdés, Invasor Newspaper, January 10th, 2020
Cuban officials believe that the farmers of Ciego de Ávila province can produce more food by implementing more of the tools and techniques advocated by ANAP. In particular, the increased use of animal traction would allow for improved production while also working around the fuel shortages currently being experienced on the island. In addition, the use of biological controls is being promoted to replacethe increasingly absent technological package.

Cuba Sabe 2020: entre el casabe criollo y la cocina gourmet
Cuba Sabe 2020: between Creole casabe and gourmet cuisine”
*Article posted in Spanish
By: Eric Caraballoso, OnCuba, January 10th, 2020
Cuban cuisine, with its traditions, regional recipes and contemporary styles, was the main feature of the II International Culinary Workshop “Cuba Knows” that concluded last Saturday in Havana. More than a "rescue" of Cuban cuisine, the workshop was instead a celebration of its recent declaration as a cultural heritage of the Cuban nation. While the workshop’s mornings were dedicated to culinary themes, the afternoons explored the ties between cooking and art with a number of visual arts performances and demonstrations. According to chef José Souto, the workshop was a two-way learning experience: this event and others help to make Cuban cuisine visible beyond its borders, but also strengthens it by introducing other flavors, ideas and influences.

La Tarea Vida integra acciones frente al cambio climático en Santa Lucía
“Life Task integrates actions to confront climate change in Saint Lucia”
*Article posted in Spanish
By: Dayessi García Sosa, Radio Nuevitas , January 10th, 2020
As one of the priorities of the Cuban State's plan for confronting climate change, called Tarea Vida (or Life Task), the province of Camagüey has worked towards integrating various organizations and  activities focused on the tourist area along Santa Lucía beach. Led by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (CITMA), the salinization along this coast is being evaluated to protect the water resources and mitigate the effects on agriculture and conservation. Other climate change related challenges in this region include increased flooding in residential areas, which the government hopes to address through urban rezoning and the relocation of residents.

Manos jóvenes que hacen producir la tierra
“Young hands that produce the land”
*Article posted in Spanish
By: Yuniel Labacena Romero, Juventud Rebelde, January 13th, 2020
Cuba currently has more than 28,000 young farmers and cooperatives engaged in food production throughout the country. These young producers are dedicated to the cultivation of sugarcane, tobacco, rice, vegetables, livestock, fruit trees and coffee, among others. The contribution of this young generation of farmers is not only decisive in Cuba’s current economic situation, but also valuable for the purposes of guaranteeing food security and sovereignty for the nation as a whole.

Convocan al Premio Provincial de Medio Ambiente 2020 
“Announcing the 2020 Provincial Environment Award”
*Article posted in Spanish
By: Yenni Torres, ¡ahora! , January 13th, 2020
The Territorial Delegation of CITMA in Holguín has announced the 2020 Provincial Environment Award, which will be awarded to any company, group, organization or individual whose conservation and environmental work contributes to the prevention, solution or mitigation of environmental problems. The prize will have a number of different categories for projects that focus on the use and management of natural resources, sustainable development, the manufacture of consumer goods and services as well as initiatives that affect the implementation of the Cuban government’s plan to tackle climate change, called Tarea Vida (or Life Task).

Dunas de Playa Pilar se convierten en Área Protegida de Cuba
“Pilar Beach dunes become Protected Area of ​​Cuba”
*Article posted in Spanish
By: Iván Paz Nogueira, Radio Surco , January 15th, 2020
The Executive Committee of the Council of Ministers of Cuba recently declared the Dunes of Playa Pilar, located within the tourist destination Jardines del Rey, north of Ciego de Ávila as a National Protected Area. Pilar Beach is a unique and enigmatic environment with significant scientific and ecological  value. It is rich with endemic species that have been increasingly impacted by tourism in the area. The National Company for the Protection of Flora and Fauna will develop and implement a special operational plan for the protected area in the coming years. After this, efforts will begin to promote ecologically sustainable tourism to foster conservation in this highly fragile ecosystem.

Cuba quiere convertir el casabe en alimento patrimonial
"Cuba wants to turn casabe into a heritage food"
*Article posted in Spanish
By:  Luis Brizuela, Inter Press Service, January 17th, 2020
In the absence of bread, traditional Cuban casabe has become a popular substitute in the daily diet. Cassava or Indian bread, as it is also known, is a pre-Colombian food and perhaps the oldest handmade dish in Cuba, linking the island nation to its indigenous and culinary history. Saving and promoting casabe is closely linked to the philosophy of the Slow Food international movement, which encourages natural food and the safeguarding of ancestral knowledge as a basis for national food security. The declaration of Cuban cuisine as part of the "intangible cultural heritage" of the nation, in October 2019, has strengthened the push to grant a similar recognition to casabe.

¿Cómo avanza Cuba en los 17 Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible de la ONU?
“How is Cuba advancing in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the UN”
*Article posted in Spanish
Ciudad de la Habana , January 18th, 2020
The first of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is to end poverty by 2030. Cuba is the second lowest country out of 105 evaluated on the Multidimensional Poverty Index. It is also the second place among the advanced nations for its food policies in terms of equality, with the aim of achieving zero hunger and malnutrition by the year 2030 as per the SDGs. Cuba also ranks highly with gender equity, as the Cuban Constitution endorses equal rights in economic, political, cultural, social and family. It is among the leading countries in the world in terms of women's participation in parliament. Cuba has also made great strides towards other SDGs, including sustainability, infrastructure, and international partnerships.

Primera planta bioeléctrica de Cuba comienza fase de prueba
“Cuba's first bio-electric plant begins testing phase”
*Article posted in Spanish
OnCuba, January 19th, 2020
The first bio-electric plant in Cuba, which generates electricity from the biomass of the marabú bush, is expected to save about 100,000 barrels of oil annually when it comes into operation. The new plant, which is located in the province of Ciego de Ávila, was built with an investment of 180 million dollars and technology from a Chinese company. When it is fully operational, this unit is expected to generate 60 megawatts of electricity per day, the equivalent of 50% of the energy consumption of Ciego de Ávila.

Región oriental cubana desarrolla turismo de naturaleza  
“Eastern Cuban region develops nature tourism”
*Article posted in Spanish
Prensa Latina, January 19th, 2020
The eastern region of Cuba, particularly the province of Holguín, is in the process of developing  tourism around natural and historical sites. The offices of the Cuban travel agency Ecotur in Holguín specialize in ecological tourism and lead a series of excursions to both natural and historical destinations in the area. In the province of Holguín, in particular, Guayabo Falls represents a popular tourist destination with various attractions, including a waterfall of about 120 meters high. The Cuban travel agency Ecotur promotes ecological tourism through activities related to nature, adventures and knowledge and protection of the environment.

Contenedores de basura de Catar para escuelas de La Habana
"Qatar Garbage Containers for Havana Schools"
*Article posted in Spanish
OnCuba, January 20th, 2020
The government of Qatar donated a batch of 60 containers for garbage collection to schools in Havana. The containers were donated by the Ministry of Municipality and Environment of the State of Qatar to the Ministry of Education of Cuba, through their diplomatic headquarters in Havana. The donation will be destined to 20 schools in the Havana, Playa, Plaza and Centro Habana municipalities, and is made up of containers of different colors, according to the type of waste collected in them, be it glass, paper, plastic or organic materials. The aid seeks to promote environmental awareness in children and young people to raise awareness about the importance of taking care of the environment and practicing activities such as recycling, the use of alternative energy, and responsible water use.

Carbón de marabú afianza liderazgo en primer polo exportador agrícola de Cuba
"Marabu charcoal strengthens leadership in Cuba's first agricultural export pole"
*Article posted in Spanish
By: Ortelio González Martínez, Granma, January 20th, 2020
Despite the strong US blockade, the Ceballos Agribusiness Company from the province of Ciego de Ávila managed to export 21,951 tons of charcoal, made from the invasive bush marabu, to European countries by the end of 2019. Creating a marketable and quality byproduct from marabu removal helps close productive cycles while at the same time benefiting other agricultural activities in the country.

Nuevo mapa hidrogeológico de Cuba facilitará manejo de más 100 reservas hídricas subterráneas
"New hydro-geological map of Cuba will facilitate the management of more than 100 underground water reserves"
*Article posted in Spanish
Granma, January 27th, 2020
Cuban scientists are currently in the process of developing a new hydro-geological map of the country's aquifers and watersheds. This new map will facilitate the study and management of more than one hundred underground water reserves in the country and represents a vital tool for Cuba as it undertakes the Tarea Vida (Life Task) program to combat climate change. 

Mexican meat processing plant opens in Mariel
OnCuba, January 27th, 2020
The Mexican meat processing company Richmeat, with a potential production capacity of 400 tons annually, was inaugurated last Friday in the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM).The plant will contribute to the Cuba's domestic markets, although initially it will only be working at 45 percent of its capacity.

Envía Guantánamo su primera carga de limones para exportar
"Guantanamo sends its first load of lemons to export"
*Article posted in Spanish
Granma, January 29th, 2020
The first batch of Persian lemons from Guantanamo province were recently exported by Gilberto Pérez Vega, a prominent farmer from the Mariana Grajales Credit and Services Cooperative. For every 100 pounds of fresh fruit, farmers in Guantanamo are paid approximately 700 pesos. With two and a half hectares of land, Pérez Vega intends to continue increasing his production in response to a recent call from Cuban authorities to diversify and expedite the production of exportable goods.


13th Conference of Agroecology, Organic and Sustainable Agriculture, 1st Symposium of Agroecological Youth (SIJA)
May 25-27, 2020, 2020, Havana, Cuba
The Cuban Association of Agricultural and Forestry Technicians (ACTAF) is hosting the 13th biannual Conference of Agroecology, Organic and Sustainable Agriculture as well as the 1st symposium for Agroecological Youth. All persons linked to the agricultural sector are invited to this meeting where they will find a space for reflection and exchange around the theme of environmentally-friendly and socially just agriculture and food sovereignty.The conference's organizing theme this year will be: local agricultural innovation systems, municipal self-supply, and Cuban food sovereignty.

4th Inter-American Climate Change Congress
June 2-4, 2020, Havana, Cuba
Organized by the Inter-American Association of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering (AIDIS) and the Cuban Society of Hygiene and Epidemiology, the IV Inter-American Congress on Climate Change will address among its main themes the science of climate change, its impacts and the management of risks to health, housing, ecosystems, human settlements, water and food security, among others. The conference will be based in the Havana Convention Center and will also discuss the fulfillment of sustainable development goals, mitigation and adaptation strategies. Other topics will focus on the inventory of greenhouse gases, environmental economics and sources of financing and information and knowledge management in the face of climate change.

CUSAN is an initiative coordinated by the Vermont Caribbean Institute and funded by the Ford Foundation, the Flora Family Foundation and the Christopher Reynolds Foundation.
Copyright © 2018 Cuba-US Agroecology Network, All rights reserved.

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