Organic marketers want to take agriculture in a revolutionary direction. Unfortunately, it’s the Cuban Revolution. The Institute for Food and Development Policy (commonly known as “Food First”) has just released a book on “sustainable agriculture” in the struggling Communist nation — and assert that Cuba’s agriculture system is a “successful case study” that should be an example to the world.
But Cuba relies on antiquated agricultural methods out of necessity, not choice; technology has been essentially frozen for over 40 years. Writes Indur Golkany of the Political Economy Research Center on such outdated methods: “Imagine the devastation that would have occurred had agricultural technology been frozen at 1961 levels… Massive deforestation, soil erosion, greenhouse gas emissions, and losses of biodiversity would occur with the more-than-doubling of land and water diverted to agriculture, but hunger and starvation would not decline… Such tragic results did not happen, thanks to improvements in productivity at each step of the food and agricultural system.”