1 Herrera Sorzano (1999) identifies an important difference between cooperatives in other countries and those in Cuba. The former have focused on developing secondary activities such as processing and marketing, whereas in Cuba the focus remains on primary production. This may partly explain why Cuba's cooperatives encountered difficulties in becoming economically efficient.

2 Bacillus thuringiensis is a bacterium that parasitizes the caterpillars of some harmful moths and butterflies. Spraying or dusting plants with spores of this bacterium is accepted as an environmentally safe way to control such pests.

3 Contemporary scientific data from Cuba supported this. In a survey of 450 campesino farmers in nine municipalities in the central provinces of Villa Clara, Sancti Spiritus and Cienfuegos, Rojas et al (2000) found that 54.5 per cent of farmers were using only chemical pesticide control for maize leaf borer, the most common being a mixture of Parathion and Carbonil. Biological controls, meanwhile, were being used by 3.3 per cent of campesinos, mainly B. thuringiensis. Only 1.3 per cent were using both types of control. Of the farmers who used chemicals, 50.3 per cent did so because they felt them to be most effective, whilst 33.6 per cent did so because they had access to them. Of farmers who used biological controls, 76.4 per cent did so because they were beneficial, 12.5 per cent because of ease of access, and 11.1 per cent because of low costs. Chemical pesticides would be applied just once, and biological on a weekly basis.

4 Martín (2002) identifies specific changes in the agricultural labour force as a result of the Special Period and reforms: these include an increase in internal heterogeneity as a result of the emergence of new cooperatives and joint ventures, an increase in the size and diversity of the labour force, increased numbers and economic importance of campesinos, increased numbers of cooperative members, reduction in numbers of less skilled farm workers, and greater differentiation in incomes and living standards as a result of market linkages and technologies.

5 Other evidence supports this situation of CCS cooperatives. Ríos Labrada et al (2000) found that CCS farmers in Pinar del Rio Province produced tobacco as their only marketable crop. They self-provisioned a wide variety of other foodstuffs, ranging from staples to condiments, which were all considered too expensive to purchase, and also undertook home-processing.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment