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Cuba's Agricultural Sector

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This is the most comprehensive discussion yet of Cuban agriculture covering all periods from colonial times onward, paying special attention to the revolutionary period, the economic reforms of the 1990s, and the recent phenomenon of the independent agricultural movement.

            José Alvarez begins with discussion of the economic, social, and political conditions in rural Cuba up to the eve of the revolution and during the years shortly thereafter, when ...

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Overview

This is the most comprehensive discussion yet of Cuban agriculture covering all periods from colonial times onward, paying special attention to the revolutionary period, the economic reforms of the 1990s, and the recent phenomenon of the independent agricultural movement.

            José Alvarez begins with discussion of the economic, social, and political conditions in rural Cuba up to the eve of the revolution and during the years shortly thereafter, when agriculture was at the center of Fidel Castro's radical vision. In Castro's scenario, the vast landholdings of domestic and foreign investors would be replaced by a system that provided benefits and social justice for those who worked the land. Agriculture would be crucial in the country's economic relations with the former Soviet Union.

How did this sweeping rural transformation turn out? What impact has the collapse of the Soviet Union and the socialist bloc had on Cuba's agricultural development? This ambitious book answers both questions fully, presenting a rigorous analysis that many readers may find controversial but few will be able to fault. Alvarez explains why recent agricultural policies and reforms have been unsatisfactory and how policy shifts in the agricultural sector have had major social, economic, environmental, and political consequences. He suggests changes that could be implemented to increase agricultural supply and consumer satisfaction and offers well-developed policy prescriptions for the transition from a centralized to a market economy.

He also discusses the intricacies of the national food rationing system and the issue of food security, the promising development of urban agriculture, the role of the black market, and price differentials between Havana and other areas. In addition, he links developments at the grassroots level with the macrocosm, assessing the impact of major international developments, such as the Helms-Burton Act and the collapse of the Soviet Union, on Cuban society.

One of the world's foremost experts on Cuban agriculture, Alvarez has made numerous professional visits to Cuba since 1993 and has included here short accounts of his personal experiences on the island. No other book with this scope and perspective has been published in or outside Cuba.

 

 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813027548
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida
  • Publication date: 11/7/2004
  • Series: Contemporary Cuba Series
  • Edition description: First
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 306
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

José Alvarez, professor of food and resource economics at the University of Florida's Everglades Research and Education Center in Belle Glade, Florida, is the coauthor of Cuba's Sugar Industry (UPF, 2001).

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