Monday, March 20, 2017

Grow Food In Caves: The Latest Brainwave From The Ministry Of Agriculture In Cuba

Grow Food In Caves: The Latest Brainwave From The Ministry Of
Agriculture In Cuba / Juan Juan Almeida

Juan Juan Almeida, 16 March 2017 — Specialists from MINAGRI, the Cuban
Ministry of Agriculture, tell us that planting seeds inside or near to
the Cuban cave network could quickly guarantee food production, which
would help to satisfy the ever-increasing requirements of the Cuban

Another insane initiative, launched by the Ministry of agriculture,
focuses on sustainable solutions to environmental problems, optimising
energy and water, improving productivity, and using human waste as compost.

It is not a new idea. Millions of years ago man took advantage of the
humidity in caves and their surroundings. How is it possible that today,
in the 21st century, the Cuban government is trying to return to the
agriculture of the cavemen?

The insane move, which includes training and the creation of
laboratories for studying the quality of water in each cave area of the
island, emerged as a response to a presumptuous and pushy ministerial
debate on the use of water in agriculture that took place last February,
where Inés María Chapman, President of the National Institute of
Hydraulic Resources spoke about the serious situation regarding this
natural resource, and Norberto Espinosa Carro, director of the Livestock
Business Group, discussed the development programme being undertaken in
the middle of straitened economic circumstances.

Anyone traveling to Cuba, even as a tourist, will know that the island
has one of the largest cave systems in the world, 70 per cent of its
territory, with the exception of Las Tunas, is composed of limestone and
calcareous rock, natural phenomenon that leads to the formation of
caverns. I doubt that farmers want to return to the caves, or that the
MINAGRI can guarantee an underground irrigation system when, over more
than 50 years, it hasn't been able to guarantee even one-third of the
national food requirement on fertile ground.

"It is called permaculture and it is a fashionable nonsense brought here
by this new Minister from his trip to Europe. And that is exactly one of
our biggest problems, the lack of organization, and Ministerial
fantasies", as we are told by one of the managers of the Institute of
Agricultural Engineering Research.

"In Cuba", he concludes, "the problem is not the water or moisture, but
the poor support for the beneficial owner of the UBPC Cooperative, the
absence of liquidity, the poor utilization of agricultural land, the
very bad selection of water sources used for irrigation and drainage,
the thousand and one legal restrictions which prevent farmers enjoying a
better life, such as building their own home on the land where they
work, the poor livestock management and shortage of cattle feed, the
shortage of manpower and technically-qualified personnel, the scarcity
of supplies and tools, the unavailability of machinery to prepare the
soil, the lack of spare parts in the areas where they work, the deficit
of qualified technical staff and work force, the lack of inputs and
tools, the non-availability of machinery for the preparation of the
land, the lack of spare parts, and the long-running errors in allocating
transport for agricultural marketing. That's all"

Translated by GH

Source: Grow Food In Caves: The Latest Brainwave From The Ministry Of
Agriculture In Cuba / Juan Juan Almeida – Translating Cuba -

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