Cuba Enters the Market for Organic Products

For the first time, Cuba has secured certification to export four lines of organic agricultural produce-coffee, cacao, honey, and citrus fruits-to Europe and Japan, fetching prices 30 - 40 per cent higher than the non-organic equivalents.

In the case of honey - a product at present enjoying a rise in market value - 528 apiaries were selected. The first batch of organic honey to be exported weighed in at 36 tons. Citrus fruits were also included in the scheme, and 400 tons were exported. Most of the cultivation takes place in the most easterly region of the country, where various farms, essentially those managed by campesinos, do not use pesticides.

In the last ten years Cuban agriculture has reduced the use of chemicals on plantations by a third, replacing them with bio-pesticides manufactured by agricultural biotechnological methods. In 1989, harvesting one ton of root and fresh vegetables required an application of 460 grams of chemical products; these days only 60 grams is used.

Many Latin American researchers and NG0s in the United States have affirmed that Cuba is leading the movement for an ecological agriculture.