Cuba strives for self-sufficiency in food

Campaign News | Wednesday, 7 July 2004

Rice plan is reaping rewards

Havana, July 7 - With help from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and agricultural experts from Viet Nam, China and Japan, since 1996, Cuba has carried out a rice cultivation programme in an effort to provide enough food for its people.

The country has carried out a project to form centres for producing high-yield rice varieties with UNDP funding.

In addition, a project has been implemented in the central province of Sancti Spiritus with help from the Vietnamese Government to transfer modern rice farming techniques to local farmers. The same project has been carried out in Granma province in eastern Cuba. As a result, the productivity in these two provinces has been raised to 5 tonnes of rice per ha as compared to the previous 2.5 - 3 tonnes.

Meanwhile, Cuba has received help from China to consolidate rice farms, and from Japan to carry out a study on small-scale rice cultivation in five central provinces.

Luis Aleman, an official of the Cuban Agriculture Ministry, said Cuba has learned from experiences in rice cultivation from other countries, particularly Asian countries. In addition, the country is applying a new policy to allocate land and transfer farming techniques to farmers.

Last year, nearly 60,000 farmers took part in short-term training course on farming techniques, and the figure is estimated to rise threefold this year, he added.

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