There was an SRUC focus on Cuba this week with two visits to Kings Buildings, Edinburgh.
The first was by a party of officials from the Cuban Government and energy group Havana Energy this week. From the Ministry of Agriculture; Celso Carpio Camarote, Head of Development at MINAGRI, from the Ministry of Sugar (AzCuba) Jorge Lodos, Head of Development and from Havana Energy; Andrew MacDonald, CEO.
SRUC are currently helping Havana Energy and the Cuban Govt develop biomass for energy production in Cuba. The objectives of the Cuban government are to return currently abandoned agricultural land to production in order to replace imported food and energy. Cuba imports 70% of its’ food and most of its energy at present. The purpose of the visit was to develop further areas for collaboration in research, education and consultancy with SRUC in agriculture.
On the same day research staff and others were able to hear a lecture by Dr Julia Wright, a Deputy Director for the Centre for Agroecology and Food Security in Coventry University. She has as over 25 years’ experience in sustainable agricultural applied research and development, with a focus on the application of agroecological, organic and permaculture principles and approaches to contemporary farming issues.
Dr Wright is a leading expert in Cuban farming and food systems post-1990, having spent time there during the period when support to agriculture changed and alternative systems were being developed. These are described in her book "Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security in an Era of Oil Scarcity: Lessons from Cuba", Earthscan Publications.
Dr Wright has worked for government, the UN and CGIAR systems, non-government organisations and the private sector in a broad range of countries: Europe – UK, Netherlands and Spain; Central and South America – Peru, Mexico, Cuba, Brazil, Jamaica; Asia – Afghanistan, China, Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia; Africa – Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria.