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Agriculture in Cuba: promoting cooperatives

Agriculture in Cuba

Farmers make their own decisions as to what they will grow

Farmers are now making their own decisions as to what they will grow. © Creutzmann
Farmers are now making their own decisions as to what they will grow. © Creutzmann
The cultivation of fruits and vegetables is planned out exactly. © Creutzmann
The cultivation of fruits and vegetables is planned out exactly. © Creutzmann

The third agricultural reform in Cuba poses a challenge to farmers: As part of the decentralisation process for agriculture, large specialised government operations have been turned into smaller cooperatives, which grant farmers more responsibility and business decision-making freedom. For example, farmers can now decide on their own which fruits, grains and vegetables they want to grow, and how they want to offer the products on the free market.

The new model has a lot of potential - farmers have not been able to make full use of this potential to date. Many small and medium-sized operations do not know how to manage the new operating structures and analyse the markets.

Welthungerhilfe promotes the entrepreneurial competencies of the small farmers and cooperatives in the provinces Santiago de Cuba, Holguin, Guantanamo Granma and Las Tunas in East Cuba. 

Optimum product marketing

As part of a first step, the farmers participated in continuing education courses, which explained how to effectively grow agricultural products in small cooperatives. In a second phase, the farmers learn strategic planning and how to market their products in the best possible manner.

These courses help to ensure the competitiveness and independence of the agricultural operations. To ensure that the knowledge that has been learnt is not lost, it is systematised and passed on by representatives of government institutions and agricultural schools. 

The living standards of families have seen a marked improvement

The living and working conditions in the participating provinces have already experienced a marked improvement: Workplaces are permanent, and new ones are being created. Harvests are higher-yielding and more products can be sold - and the farmers are happy with the higher income. The living standards of the families have seen a marked improvement. The agricultural sector offers people an attractive alternative to government jobs, which do not pay well.

Urban Gardening in Havanna

Urban Gardening in Havanna - Cuban citizens provide food for themselves

At first many just grew organic food in Havanna, Cuba's capital, for their own needs. Today, 150 people work at ten hectare farmland. But how does this self supply work and how does life as an urban gardener feel like? Find out more in this video.

The aid measures are financially supported by EuropeAid.

Current reports
20 years of Welthungerhilfe in Cuba

20 years of Welthungerhilfe in Cuba

Agriculture: entrepreneurial thinking for the future

 "A lot of it reminds me of my father’s stories from the post-war period”, says Michael Hofmann of his Cuba trip. But much has changed too.

Revolution and organic vegetables

Revolution and organic vegetables

20 years of urban gardening in Cuba

In the 90s, out of necessity many people in Havana began to grow their own vegetables in city gardens. Today, urban gardening is a successful model.


Find out how cuban farmers provide preserved tomatosauce during Off-Season.