The Cuban agricultural model: a paradigmatic case in Latin America?

elisa botella rodriguez

Convener: Diego Sánchez Ancochea

Speakers: Elisa Botella-Rodríguez, Lecturer in Economic History, Economics and Economic History Department and Instituto de Iberoamérica, University of Salamanca, Spain

Whereas the majority of Latin American countries promoted non-traditional exports and ‘Agriculture of Change’ (based on large scale monocrops) in the early 1990s, Cuba was forced to implement an alternative model. In the throes of the worst crisis in its history, the ‘Special Period’, Cuba’s agriculture shifted dramatically from a model based on trade dependency (sugar exports providing most of the foreign currency required to import food) to one prioritising food import substitution and small farming. This alternative model sparked major transformations in the country’s agriculture. It revolutionised food production patterns and decentralised land ownership and the markets. Did these changes create spaces for private small farmer to increase national food production during the 1990s and early 2000s? Did these changes reduce food import dependency, the Achilles’ heel of the Revolution? This seminar provides an updated picture of Cuba’s agriculture, food import dependency, and the increased role of small farmers in food production during the 2000s.