Climate Change: Learning From Cuba
June 26, 2012
IPS has a good article on the challenges faced by Cuban farmers and seed scientists resulting from climate change. With the likelihood of stronger hurricanes, higher temperatures and longer droughts, government funding is allowing for adaptation and the creation of resilience.
For example, seed banks are being developed to provide immediate relief to farmers hit by hurricanes. Drought resistant crop varieties are being developed and distributed, while farmers are learning to plant a diverse mixture of fruits and vegetables, giving them insurance against climatic fluctuations.
An EU and government funded scheme called the Programme of Local Support for the Modernisation of Agriculture (PALMA) is funding irrigation schemes, such as small storage ponds and windmills, and the creation of “biofactories” to produce replacement seeds.
This is an indication of new thinking about modernity and agriculture. While not abandoning some of the techniques of industrial agriculture, Cuban farmers are moving ahead of monoculture-based systems and new institutions are being created to facilitate this adaptation. If it works, it’s a lesson to us all.