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Leitgeb, F; Kummer, S; Funes-Monzote, FR; Vogl, CR.
(2014): Farmers' experiments in Cuba
RENEW AGR FOOD SYST. 2014; 29(1): 48-64. FullText FullText_BOKU

Due to the collapse of the socialist systems in 1989, Cubaxxxs government promoted a series of structural changes to deal with resource scarcity and to enhance agricultural productivity. The upcoming crisis triggered adaptation strategies and led to a large-scale transition process towards a more sustainable model of agriculture. Farmersxxx experiments have been an implicit part of this process. Nowadays, farmersxxx capacity to experiment is widely accepted among the scientific community. However, detailed descriptions of farmersxxx approaches to experimentation are scarce. In this study, we examine the topics, resources, sources, motives, methods and outcomes of farmersxxx experiments in Cuba. The research methods comprised semi-structured interviews with 72 Cuban farmers, field notes, participant observation and a research diary. Key informants and 34 expert interviews added important insights into analysis. The results reveal that farmersxxx experiments are an integral part of farming in Cuba. Most farmers reported realizing their own experiments on their farms. The use of locally available resources was a crucial element for farmersxxx experiments. The topics were related to the introduction of new plant species or varieties, plant production, mechanization, fertilization, plant protection and the introduction of new animal species. The farmersxxx own idea was the most important source for experimenting, followed by ideas offered by colleagues and family members. Increasing production, independence from external resources and improving farm management were the main motives for experimenting. More than half of the farmers started to experiment without detailed written or mental planning, but made some considerations about the experiment before starting. Some planned more in detail and a few farmers devised a written plan, draft or model. Starting on a small scale was a way to minimize risks. The experiments were mainly evaluated by observation and comparison. Only a few farmers took records of their experiments. The most important outcomes were higher production, food self-sufficiency, work easement, improved plant health, increased knowledge, higher working efficiency and better taste of products. Farmersxxx experiments are a means of learning and they enhance farmersxxx capacity to adapt to changing conditions.
Authors BOKU Wien:
Kummer Susanne
Leitgeb Friedrich
Vogl Christian R.

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
local knowledge
farmersxxx innovations
adaptive capacity
experimental process
sustainable agriculture

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