At the end of 2021, Cuba had 226,597 farms, 1202 of which had agroecological status while 64 percent of the total – some 146,000 – were working towards gaining agroecological certification, according to official statistics. The use of natural fertilizers and animal manure has made a difference in the recovery and transformation of the soil.
Studies show that changes in land use, inadequate agricultural practices (including the intensive use of agricultural machinery and irrigation), the increase in human settlements and infrastructure and the effects of climate change are factors that are accelerating desertification and soil degradation in this Caribbean island nation of 11.2 million people.
In the archipelago, covering 109,884 square kilometers, 77 percent of the soils are classified as not very productive. The most recent statistics show that 35 percent of the soil in Cuba presents some degree of degradation.
Currently, several farmers are in the process of receiving a “sustainably managed farm” certification. This represents an increasing effort by small Cuban farmers to recuperate degraded land and use environmentally friendly techniques.
The restoration of unproductive and/or degraded lands is also connected to the need to increase domestic food security, in a country highly dependent on food imports, whose rising prices mean a domestic market with unsatisfied needs and cycles of shortages such as the current one.