In last week’s post, I described our day trip from Havana to Pinar del Rio, the tobacco-growing region in the west of the island of Cuba. That was also the day that deepened our understanding of the current state of agriculture in Cuba. In a word: struggling.
Cuba imports something like 80% of its food while millions of acres of arable land has been overtaken by marabou, an invasive weedy shrub from Africa.
We saw tractors in Cuba, but they were all being used for hauling, either material or people. When we saw field work being done, it was with animals, usually a pair of oxen.
Cuba has emphasized education, but that has a downside. Once you’ve educated your young people, how are you going to keep them down on the farm? Especially if you’re still farming with oxen.
A more exciting route for young farmers are organic vegetable farms where the produce is sold directly to the consumer. Cuba doesn’t have much access to modern agriculture chemicals, due to the embargo. So, they are looking to make a name for themselves in organic food production. The farm that I wrote about last week represented a bright spot in modern Cuban agriculture.
Check out today’s Weekend Cooking links for more foodie posts from around our kitchens to around the world.
Here are my previous posts about Cuba, most with photos for Saturday Snapshot at West Metro Mommy Reads:
- Photos of Entering Cuba
- Book review of Cuban Revelations by Marc Frank
- Photos of the Palacio de Valle
- Book review of Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene
- Photos of downtown Cienfuegos
- Food in Cuba
- Colorful Trinidad, Cuba
- Book review of Havana Nocturne by T.J. English with photos of 50s Cuba
- Interiors of a 1929 house in Havana
- Colors of Cuba exhibit
- Views of Havana from Hotel Capri
- Architecture and book stalls in the Plaza de Armas, Havana
- Food in Havana
- Plaza de la Catedral, Havana
- A non-touristy walk in Havana
- A day-trip to Pinar del Rio, featuring our best meal