Sunday, September 21, 2008

Organic Cuba without Fossil Fuel (Part 1)

posted by Guest On Planet:

Dear Pencinta Alam

Cuba's success in organic farming without fossil fuels, is something we Malaysians & Malaysia Agriculture Ministry should look into, at a time when we are so worry about the fuel hike and the country's fuel resources which affect our economy so much.

Somebody has done it successfully, we only need to copy & modify the method where necessary.

May this article reach the hearts of the DOERS !

Organic Cuba without Fossil Fuels –
And Passed With Flying Colours

Part I - Cuba 1989

Cuba is where agriculture without fossil fuels has been put to its greatest test, and it has passed with flying colours. The year 1989 ushered in the “Special Period” [1] a scenario that will hit some countries in the not too distant future unless they prepare for it right now.
Before 1989, Cuba was a model Green Revolution farm economy, based on huge production units of state-owned farms, and dependent on vast quantities of imported oil, chemicals and machinery to produce export crops. Under agreements with the former Soviet Union, Cuba had been an oil-driven country, and 98 percent of all its petroleum had come from the Soviet bloc. In 1988, 12-13 million tons of Soviet oil were imported and of this, Cubans re-exported two million tons. In 1989, Cuba was forced to cut the re-export in half and in 1990, oil exports were cut entirely as only 10 of 13m tons promised by the Soviet had been received. At the end of 1991, only 6 of the promised 13 m tons was received, and the short fall in oil began to severely affect the nation’s economy.
While oil was critical, other losses were also important, as 85 percent of all Cuba’s trade was with the Soviets. Cuba exported 66 percent of all sugar and 98 percent of its citrus fruit to the Soviet bloc, and imported from them 66 percent of its food, 86 percent of all raw materials, and 80 percent of machinery and spare parts. Consequently, when support from the Soviet bloc was withdrawn, factories closed, food scarcity was widespread and an already inadequate technology base began eroding.
The collapse of the Soviet bloc and the tightened US trade embargo exposed the vulnerability of Cuba’s Green Revolution model, and it was plunged into the worst food crisis in its history [2].
In early 1990, a survival economy was put in place as 100 000 tons of wheat normally obtained through barter arrangements failed to arrive and the government had to use scarce hard currency to import grain from Canada [1]. The price of food went up and bread had to be rationed. Overall, food consumption was said to decrease by 20 percent in calories and 27 percent in protein between 1989 and 1992.
To make matters worse, Cuba’s efforts to reverse the trend of rural-urban migration over the past decades failed to stem the increasing tides of rural migrants to the cities, especially to Havana. In 1994, 16 541 migrated to Havana from all over Cuba, more than any year since 1963. By 1996, the figure had reached 28 193, at pre-revolution level. Shortages of food and medicine and gasoline were driving people to the capital.
Policies to stop the inflow were put in place in 1997, but not before the population density in the capital reached 3 000 inhabitants per square kilometre.
Cuba was faced with a dual challenge of doubling food production with half the previous inputs, with some 74 percent of its population living in cities. Yet by 1997, Cubans were eating almost as well as they did before 1989, with little food and agrochemicals imported. Instead, Cuba concentrated on creating a more self-reliant agriculture: a combination of higher crop prices paid to farmers, agroecological technology, smaller production units, and most importantly, urban agriculture. Urbanisation is a growing trend worldwide. More people now live in cities than in the countryside. By 2015 about 26 cities in the world are expected to have populations of 10 million or more. To feed cities of this size require at least 6 000 tons of food a day [1].


Anonymous said...

Dear Guest on Planet,

Thanks so much for the inspiring article.

It proved that it is possible for a country to survive on its own, through self-reliant organic agriculture that takes care of many important sectors in the country.

May our readers and leaders be inspired.

Thanks again, God bless :)

Lazaro Gonzalez said...

You say survive??????