Published by City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture


Cienfuegos, the Capital of Urban Agriculture in Cuba

by Alejandro R. Socorro Castro
Alejandro R. Socorro Castro
Agronomist, Professor and Researcher at the University of Cienfuegos, Cuba

Ciencias Agrarias, Universidad de Cienfuegos
Cuatro Caminos, Cienfuegos CP 59430, Cuba
Teléfono y fax: (53) (432) 22912
Fax: (53) (432) 22762

In Cuba, the development of urban agriculture started as a necessity to face the crisis of food production. A strong movement exists, fundamentally through the development of organopónicos (urban gardens) and huertos intensivos (intensive orchards). From 1996 to 1997 the production of these methods of urban agriculture grew by 3 times. During 1998, the production in patios and parcels was registered too.

Several basic considerations have been specified for the sustainability of Urban Agriculture. Agro-ecological practices have been developed by using technological alternatives that follow the trend of the rational use of resources.

The movement of organopónicos in cities and the urban perimeters has been expanded in Cuba because there are available spaces. Currently, the methods of cultivation in organopónicos allow high yields by using few external inputs, such as fertilisers, pesticides and energy. These methods are compatible with organic farming.

In the First and the Second International Conferences on Urban Agriculture in Cuba, it was evident that scientific investigation was necessary to improve agricultural practices and systems. The problem of production in organopónicos, is that yields per unit area, reported in different municipalities and cities were still below potential. It has been demonstrated in several installations that the yields could be increased. The most important problems of organopónicos to be solved are the substrate management, the water quality and the use of low input alternatives. These problems require the maximum attention of researchers.

The province of Cienfuegos is the capital of Urban Agriculture in Cuba. It is possible to affirm because this province has had the best results on the evaluation indicators considered for the  special evaluation of the Cuban Ministry of Agriculture in 1998.

The following statistics show what do not need to be commented. See graphs 1,2,3 & 4 about some indicators of fresh vegetables production.

Excellent photos here!

Table 1

The graph shows the cultivated area per year for each of the different ways urban agriculture is practised in Cuba. The 1999 data are prognostics prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Table 2

This graph shows the production in each one of the urban agriculture modalities per year. The information for 1999 are pronostics by the Ministry of Agriculture. qq = quintal = 100 pounds.

Table 3

This graph shows the yields in kg/m2 for each one of the modalities of  Urban Agriculture practised in Cuba during 1994 to 1998 and the pronostics of the Ministry of Agriculture for 1999.

Table 4

This one shows what does this level of production mean for urban inhabitants in Cienfuegos. It means g per urban inhabitant of the Cienfuegos cities.

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Revised Tuesday, February 2, 1999

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture