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The Green Revolution: How Cubans converted their island to organic agriculture.

© Marie Fontaine -

In the 1990s, Cuba was going through a difficult period, known as the "Special Period." With the end of the Soviet Union, the country lost crucial economic support, including imports of oil, agricultural machinery and agricultural chemicals.

This crisis forced Cuba to rethink its agricultural model based on monocultures and the intensive use of chemicals.


Their transition to organic agriculture:

- Cuban authorities understood that in order to make this transition successful, it was essential to promote research and education in the field of organic agriculture. Research centers have been created to study and develop sustainable agricultural practices. In addition, schools and universities have integrated organic farming and permaculture curricula.

Vinales Valley, Cuba
Vinales Valley, Cuba

- In order to reduce dependence on imports and encourage local production, Cuban farmers began to diversify their crops.

Instead of focusing on monocultures, they have adopted polyculture, which prevents diseases and pests while promoting biodiversity.

- The inability to import chemicals has prompted Cubans to develop natural methods to control pests and diseases. Natural predators, such as ladybugs and parasitoid wasps, were introduced to control pest populations.

Farmers also began using biopesticides and organic fertilizers to replace chemicals.

Agroforestry systems, which combine trees and crops on the same plot, have been widely adopted in Cuba. These systems provide a diversity of products, improve soil fertility, reduce erosion, and contribute to the fight against climate change by sequestering carbon.

Cuba has also implemented urban agriculture projects to encourage local production and reduce dependence on imports.

Urban gardens, called "organopónicos," have been created to allow residents to grow their own fruits and vegetables.

Thanks to this transition to organic agriculture, Cuba has been able to overcome the food crisis and make significant progress in sustainability.

Here are some of the positive impacts of this green revolution:

Organic agriculture in Cuba has improved food security through crop diversification and the promotion of local production.

It has also had a positive impact on public health by reducing exposure to chemicals.

Biodiversity has been promoted through polyculture and agroforestry systems, while sustainable practices have contributed to environmental protection.

Finally, small farmers have become more self-reliant and have improved their standard of living, thereby supporting the local economy.


The lessons learned from this green revolution can serve as an example for other countries seeking to adopt more environmentally and resource friendly agricultural practices.

As the world faces challenges such as climate change and population growth, sustainable organic agriculture may be a key solution to ensuring food security and protecting our planet.


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