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Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security in an Era of Oil Scarcity: Lessons from Cuba

By: Julia Wright

256 pages, figures, tables, boxes, maps, index


Hardback | Nov 2008 | #178249 | ISBN-13: 9781844075720
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £65.00 $85/€74 approx

About this book

When other nations are forced to rethink their agricultural and food security strategies in light of the post-peak oil debate, they only have one living example to draw from: that of Cuba in the 1990s. Based on the first and - up till now - only systematic and empirical study to come out of Cuba on this topic, this book examines how the nation successfully headed-off its own food crisis after the dissolution of the Soviet Bloc in the early 1990s.

The author identifies the policies and practices required for such an achievement under conditions of petroleum-scarcity, and throws down the gauntlet to the mainstream, market-driven approach to achieving food security being imposed on vulnerable developing regions. Paradoxically, the book debunks the myth that Cuba turned to a widespread organic approach to agriculture, a myth that is perpetuated as the majority of visitors to the country, including researchers and journalists, only visit urban production which is predominantly organic. In rural regions, to which the author had unique access, high-input and integrated approaches are advocated for the majority of production, despite the fluctuations in availability of agrochemicals and fuel.

This book confronts the crucial issue that as world oil supplies peak, energy policies need to change and people must adapt. It provides the only example of a how a country's agriculture and food supply have coped with conditions of post-peak oil. It is based on original research by the author, who had unique access to the rural areas of Cuba.

'There is a great deal of interest in Cuba, including in its radical departure from agricultural policy norms, and in what nations will have to do in the coming years in the context of peak oil. The author has a deep experience of recent transitions in Cuba, and there will be great interest in this book.' - Professor Jules Pretty, University of Essex, UK


Introduction; Cuba: Providing a Model for a Post-Petroleum Food System?; Post-Petroleum Food Systems: The Challenges; A Slice of History; Food Systems Transformation: From Dependency to Greater Sovereignty; Cuban Agriculture: A Patchwork of Approaches; Challenges Encountered to Mainstreaming Sustainable Agriculture; Policy Implications of Cuba's Experiences and Achievements in Sustaining its Food Security Base; Appendices; References; Glossary; Index.

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Dr Julia Wright has 20 years experience in sustainable and organic agriculture, and food security. She is currently Manager of the International Development Programme at the Henry Doubleday Research Association (Coventry, UK), trustee of the Bioregional Development Group, and on the steering committee of Transition Town Leamington (UK)

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