A woman works in an organic
urban field in Havana, 2009
All eight municipalities of the eastern province of Las Tunas joined the National Program of Suburban Agriculture developed in the island to foster agricultural growth in the cities’ peripheral areas.
Jose Artelles, with the Urban and Suburban Agriculture Provincial Office, told ACN Las Tunas capital city was the first one to join the program out of 17 cities selected across the country for a first stage of the initiative launched in January, 2010.
According to the specialist, 156 of all 169 municipalities of the country, which meet the required conditions, are expected to participate in the national program.
Artelles said suburban agriculture is a new branch of the National Program for Urban Agriculture consisting on fostering cultivation and stockbreeding in areas around cities and towns in a 2-10 Kilometer radius.
The main objective of the program is to bring agricultural productions closer to the
population, save fuel and other resources in the transportation of such produces and in general contribute to the Cuban effort to develop an economical and sustainable agriculture.
The program is based on the use of animal traction for both cultivation work and
transportation to the markets, the use organic fertilizers and other ecological practices.
Cuba has an area of nearly 11 million hectares, of which 6.6 million are considered
agricultural areas. However, according to the National Statistics Office, only about 3 million hectares were cultivated in 2008, while more than 2 million were devoted to stockbreeding and pasture; the rest of the land was idle.
For that reason, the Cuban government decided to implement some actions to make better use of the land faced with the need to increase food production and progressively reduce increasingly-expensive food imports.