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


December News Summary  
 
Dear Friends and Colleague,
 
Happy 2021! We hope this year brings us liberation from this pandemic and wisdom to prevent future ones by healing our relationship with each other and the planet and building social, economic, and environmental justice. In 2020, Cuba showed the world the importance and power of solidarity and internationalism through their medical brigades. Cuba also made significant social and economic policy changes in 2020 including groundbreaking policies aimed at building food sovereignty through agroecology. We look forward to 2021 to continue to support our partners in Cuba and to continue to build bridges of solidarity between movements in the US, Cuba and the greater Caribbean region.
 
Please find below a summary of important news from December including: new legal rules for international cooperation, new public bicycle systems for Havana, remarks from President Diaz-Canel at the Climate Ambition Summit, new regulation placing price caps for agricultural products as part of the monetary unification process, celebrations across the country commemorating the 33rd anniversary of the founding of the organoponico system of production integral to the urban agriculture movement, and more.
 
NEWS
 
Cuba promulga paquete de nuevas normas jurídicas sobre cooperación internacional
“Cuba Enacts Package of New Legal Rules on International Cooperation”
*Article Posted in Spanish 
By: Deny Extremera San Martín, Ismael Francisco, Cubadebate, December 1, 2020 
A new law decree with eight resolutions, composed by various ministries makes up the new Cuban legal package, seeking to create new regulations to support Cuba’s international cooperation. In article 4, Law Decree No. 16 states that the international cooperation that Cuba offers and receives is carried out “without economic, political or social conditions that imply interference in internal affairs, without affecting the unity of Cuban society and with strict respect for the sovereignty, self-determination, laws, culture, religion and customs of the country that benefits from the cooperation, in accordance with the principles of international law ”. The legal package published this Tuesday by the Official Gazette, will become official 120 days after its publication. Allowing for a period of adaptation of provisions made by organizations, institutions, business groups, governments and other entities. These new resolutions will allow for increased flexibility for international cooperation efforts, allowing for greater access to external resources, contributing to the development of the nation. 
 
La Habana tendrá un sistema de bicicletas públicas en 2021
“Havana Will Have a Public Bike System in 2021”
*Article Posted in Spanish 
By: Redacción OnCuba, December 4, 2020 
In order to encourage low-carbon transportation methods, Havana will install a pilot level public bicycle system in 2021. During its initial stages, the system will focus on the municipality of Boyeros within Havana. According to Zunilda Parras, general director of the Center for Research and Environmental Management of Transportation (Cimab), there will be an urban station, located in the Fontanar district, and six other cycle stations near the Technological University of Havana and the Río Verde district.  Claritza Cárdenas, director of Cimab's passenger and roads division states that the bicycles are expected to be used for distances of an average of three and half kilometers. The public bicycle system is part of the Neomovilidad project, financed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and organized by the General Directorate of Transport of Havana.
 
Leidy Casimiro: “La participación de las mujeres es la base de una sociedad justa”
“Leidy Casimiro: The participation of Women is the Base to a Just Society”
*Article Posted in Spanish 
By: IPS Cuba, December 7, 2020 
Leidy Casimiro currently teaches at the University of Sancti Spíritus and is the only Cuban woman to hold a doctorate in Agroecology. She spends her time between teaching classes on international projects at the Indio Hatuey Experimental Station, in Colón and working at the Finca del Medio, where environmental care and gender equity are promoted. In an interview with IPS Cuba, Casimiro addresses some of the ways to respond to gender violence within the nation. In the case of family farming she states, “different actions must be implemented that allow for the empowerment of peasant women, facilitating their intervention in decision-making and their equitable participation in the entire chain of the local food system -starting from their home-, encouraging their participation with support for land ownership and productive resources, taking a comprehensive approach to their needs in order to promote family life in the field and place them on equal terms.” Casimiro states the fact that women represent less than 25 percent of Cuba’s agricultural sector and that there is a great need to address issues around transportation, infrastructure, communication services and access to hospitals and schools in order to increase women's participation in farming. 
 
Cuba importó soya por valor de 1400 millones de dólares en cuatro años
“Cuba Imported Soybeans Worth $1.4 billion in Four Years”
*Article Posted in Spanish 
By: Redacción OnCuba, December 7, 2020 
Between 2014-2018 Cuba paid 1,400 million dollars for soy imports, which according to the Cuban News Agency, represents the largest expense for the importation of animal feed. Experts within the field recently presented a plan to create a program that would increase soybean cultivation in Cuba up to 100,000 hectares within the next five years. This would result in the cultivation of 100% of the oil consumed on the Island and about 25% of what is necessary for animal feed. During the meeting, Dr. Rodolfo Ortiz explained that the cultivation of this grain on the island is very limited, since it is only planted by small and medium producers and the Cubasoy company, which has managed to sow more than 2000 hectares a year. The proposal also included a plan to install small grain processing plants and oil extractors to increase the local production of concentrates for animals and crude oil.
 
Frutas y hortalizas entre las exportaciones del sector privado cubano
“Fruits and Vegetables Among Cuban Private Sector Exports”
*Article Posted in Spanish 
By: Redacción OnCuba, December 9, 2020 
With the government's recent approval to export products amongst the private sector last July, fruits and vegetables are among one of the most exported products. So far, 25 contracts have been signed for the export of products and services, and 431 for the import of products and raw materials by producers and non-state cooperatives, according to the 2020 Cuban Business Forum. In addition to fruits and vegetables, handicrafts, charcoal and wood are "among the Cuban products with a superior presence in the international market," said Vivian Bárbara Herrera, general director of Foreign Trade at the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment (MINCEX). According to Herrera, the provinces “with the greatest export potential" include Pinar del Río, Holguín, Las Tunas and Granma.
 
Díaz-Canel: “Los patrones de producción y consumo del capitalismo son irracionales e insostenibles”
Díaz-Canel: “Capitalism’s Production and Consumption Patterns are Irrational and Unsustainable”
*Article Posted in Spanish 
By: Granma, December 12, 2020
Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Republic of Cuba, recently gave a speech at the virtual Summit on Climate Ambition, in which he addressed the need for the global recognition of climate change. The president acknowledged that Cuba’s “State Plan for Confronting Climate Change, with national goals and international commitments, involves all sectors of the economy and society in adaptation and mitigation actions.” Last September, Cuba updated its contribution to the UN Framework Convention, to include a more ambitious commitment. Díaz-Canel states “that we set thirteen adaptation goals, a line prioritized by our condition as a small island developing state, and five mitigation goals, aimed fundamentally at agriculture and energy, which generate more than 90% of greenhouse gas emissions in our country.” Cuba currently has a commitment to reach an energy matrix by 2030 with 24% of electricity generation coming from renewable sources; a 50% reduction of fossil fuels in land vehicles and a 33% increase in forestlands. 
 
Medicina Natural y Tradicional en Cuba fortalece las investigaciones
“Natural and Traditional Medicine in Cuba Strengthens Investigations” 
*Article Posted in Spanish 
By: Iris Armas Padrino, ACN, December 15, 2020 
According to a recent article by ACN, the main challenge for Natural and Traditional Medicine (NTM) in Cuba, will be to continue strengthening research efforts and the next generation of scientific evidence, in order to support the regulated use of these modalities within the country. In an exclusive dialogue with the Cuban News Agency (ACN), Dr. Johann Perdomo, head of the MNT department of the Ministry of Public Health (Minsap), announced that next year it  plans to increase the units of natural products to be produced to 100 million, both for industry and for local production. Cuba has 76 local drug production centers across the island, in which repair and maintenance actions have been carried out. The nation has invested in  the introduction of 837 units of quality control equipment. 
 
Priorizará Cuba generación de energía, en particular renovable
“Cuba Prioritizes the Generation of Energy, Particularly Renewable”
*Article Posted in Spanish
By: Redacción Digital Radio Ciudad  December 19, 2020 
On Dec 18th Deputy Prime Minister, Alejandro Gil, announced to the National Assembly of People’s Power, that Cuba would continue to prioritize renewable energy as part of its economic plan. Gil assured that these efforts would continue despite the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the tightening blockade imposed by the United States. According to the minister, five megawatts (MW) were completed and incorporated into the energy system from the Mayajigua and Planta Mecánica solar parks, in the center of the island. Cuba is also working on the investment of 50 MW in three photovoltaic solar parks in the Mariel Special Development Zone, where national and foreign companies are based. He also noted that 40 kilometres of manufactured gas networks were recently restored. 
 
Agricultura cubana en el 2020: entre retos y cambios
“Cuban Agriculture in 2020: Between Challenges and Changes”
*Article Posted in Spanish
By: Allianet Beltran Alvarez, ACN, December 21, 2020 
The following article by ACN provides a review of Cuba’s agricultural sector for 2020, a year that marked the industry by its capacity to find solutions to the economic, commercial, and financial challenges imposed by the US blockade and the COVID-19 pandemic. The start of the year was defined by a shortage of diesel fuel, resulting in a delayed planting season. Following this, imports of raw materials were limited due to border closures caused by the global pandemic. These challenges served as the catalyst for Cuba’s recent food sovereignty plan. According to Rafael Santiesteban Pozo, president of the National Association of Small Farmers (ANAP),  1,543 tons of food were donated to support the nation's hospitals, health facilities, and  isolation centers. In July, the National Plan for Food Sovereignty and Nutrition Education was approved, the first of its kind in the history of the nation. Subsequently, law decrees and modifications have been approved, aiming to provide better care for farmers and fewer bureaucratic obstacles. Resolutions address a wide range of issues, including access to federal funds, easier pathways for the exportation of goods, and modified labor laws. Despite these efforts 2020 had smaller yields than expected, a result of tropical storms that hit the island and limited access to imported inputs such as fertilizers. The latter, took a toll on the nation's rice production in particular, resulting in an increased use of native rice varieties. 2021 will surely bring about much change to the agricultural sector, especially as many of the new decrees will be officially implemented. 
 
La Tarea Ordenamiento incluye la regulación de los precios de los productos agrícolas
“The Ordering Task Includes the Regulation of Agricultural Product Prices”
*Article Posted in Spanish
By: Yenia Silva Correa, Granma, December 26, 2020 
New decree resolution number, 312-2020 establishes price caps for agricultural products. These price caps are subject to state entities and agricultural producers. According to the Official Gazette, these values are applied by state and non-state entities that participate in commercialization. Products deemed of “second quality” will have a 15% price reduction. The ministerial resolution authorizes companies, when the products do not have centralized collection prices, to set them by agreement with the agricultural traders, considering the costs and prices of their peers in the market.
 
Modelo productivo de autosustentabilidad, soberanía alimentaria y desarrollo local
“Productive Model of Self-Sustainability, Food Sovereignty, and Local Development” 
*Article Posted in Spanish
By: Gladys Leidys Ramos López, Granma, December 27, 2020 
Army General, Raúl Castro Ruz, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, recently acknowledged the importance of the nation’s Program for Urban, Suburban, and Family Agriculture, at the 33rd anniversary of the creation of the productive movement, founded and led, until his death, by Adolfo Rodríguez Nodals. The success of this program was acknowledged, which has resulted in the creation of new organoponicos, the restoration of garden patios and land parcels, and increased collaborative efforts between universities, local governments, and research institutes. The President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, joined in the greeting, who, on Twitter, described the movement as "an important program, supported by hardworking and selfless Cubans who deserve our recognition."
 
Mayor exportadora cubana de café concretó primera operación comercial directa hacia el mercado europeo
“The Largest Cuban Coffee Exporter Completed the First Direct Commercial Operation to the European Market” 
*Article Posted in Spanish
By: Granma, December 29, 2020 
After almost a year of attempting to establish self-directed foreign trade operations, the Asdrúbal López Coffee Processing Company, Cuba’s largest coffee exporter, completed its first direct commercial operation destined for the European market. The company will also begin to ship cacao beans to Europe, as it seeks to expand its international clientele. Export company AltoSerra, which produces coffee beans in the Eastern Sierras of Cuba, closes another year of successful foreign sales and seeks to expand their clientele beyond Asia, Europe, and Oceania. This industry currently employs more than 400 workers in seven different units distributed in four Guantanamo municipalities. The plantations are located between 500-700 meters above sea level, resulting in the ideal climate and soil for this particular crop.
 
 

CUSAN is an initiative coordinated by the Caribbean Agroecology 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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