Agricultural Research in Cuba

Date: 1991
Owner: Adam Jones
Source Type: Images


Since the 1960s, Cuba has made an effort to increase domestic agricultural yields and thus lessen its dependency on food imports. In 1991, after the fall of the U.S.S.R., the Fourth Congress of the Communist Party of Cuba made it a priority to use biotechnology to augment Cuba's capacity to feed itself. Cuban scientists have created new biofertilizers, new strains of crops, and new animal vaccines that have greatly decreased their reliance on imports. Rhizobium bacterium is a biofertilizer that promotes nodulation and nitrogen fixation in legumes, producing plants that are 30-70% larger and nourish the soil as they grow. This fertilizer helped facilitate the mass production of Cubasoy 23, a soybean that can fully develop in about 100 days. Biofactories in Cuba also mass produce in vitro seedlings for crops like sugarcane, potatoes, and plantains, eliminating the need to import seeds. Genetic engineers isolated the gene in cows that causes hemorrhagic bovine disease and used it to create a vaccine that would help protect their livestock. Since 1991, biotechnology has enabled Cuba to import far less food and fertilizer, thus strengthening their economy and improving the health of its people.

CITATION: Dr. Adam Jones. Tobacco field near Vinales, Cuba. December, 2006.