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    Food sovereignty: setting the record straight

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    Soberanía alimentaria: los puntos sobre las íes

    There are multiple challenges to achieve a sustainable model of agricultural production, transformations in the cultivation and commercialization processes, greater access to resources and adequate consumption habits, fundamental purposes of the Food Sovereignty and Nutrition Education Plan (SAN).

    In the effort to clear the route that will ensure the full exercise of the right to healthy food, to think that the ship will arrive with chemical products to guarantee superior quality and yield in the crops, represents a utopia in the face of the continuous intensification of the US blockade against Cuba.

    That is why the urgency of shedding the habits of conventional agriculture and resuming agro-ecological practices with more force, with the advantages and disadvantages that it entails and without abandoning the commitments of a province that decides on the food of a considerable part of the country.

    Soberanía alimentaria: los puntos sobre las íes

    The participants in the Challenges and dares of the implementation of the SAN Plan Workshop analyzed the strengths and weaknesses in the implementation of this program.

    You take it or you take it! Rescuing old practices is the only option in the face of countless limitations. It is about taking advantage of the benefits of nature and, incidentally, we do the planet a favor by reducing pollution; not forgetting either that organic productions are safer for consumption.

    Daisy Guantes López, Secretary of Communication and Information of the Provincial Branch of the Cuban Association of Agricultural and Forestry Technicians (ACTAF), pointed out that given the obligation to resort to traditional practices to make land produce, the MINAG institutions, particularly the provincial institutes, Plant Health and Soils, increase specialized technical services to the production bases.

    The monitoring is aimed at detecting pests and determining the properties of the soils in order to know their properties for a more efficient exploitation, from which recommendations are made based on agro-ecological practices: how to use the worm castings, biofertilizers and efficient microorganisms, she specified.

    Soberanía alimentaria: los puntos sobre las íes

    Integration among the different actors involved in the Plan… is essential to advance in food production.

    As old methods are resumed, dependence on fossil fuels, necessary to cope with shortages and rising prices, also decreases, the latter triggering an increase in harvest costs and sales prices to traders and consumers.

    The SAN Plan is committed to resuming renewable energy sources --the times when a windmill ensured the extraction of water for irrigation of the fields and the consumption of animals--, in such a way as to reduce dependence on conventional sources and it is taxed to save electricity and fuels by transferring the liquid in tank cars or others, Guantes López explained.

    Soberanía alimentaria: los puntos sobre las íes

    The ACTAF official assured that the results of said program are measured in the field and on the table, therefore the importance of extending all actions to the base: the municipalities, popular councils and communities, where the urban, suburban and family agriculture.

    In Ciego de Ávila all municipalities have self-supply programs and are oriented towards their materialization through development proposals framed in the 2019-2025 period, with the premise of producing in a sustainable way and guaranteeing access to sufficient, diverse, balanced, nutritious, safe and healthy food.

    Soberanía alimentaria: los puntos sobre las íes

    It is fair to recognize the effort made to guarantee greater variety and quality in the offers, as well as to mention the weaknesses (turned into challenges) to achieve firmness on the path towards the desired food sovereignty. This concept is very explicit and it still does not achieve synergy with the Cuban reality, due to objective and subjective factors "placed on the table", sometimes more frequently than certain foods.

    The recent Workshop on Food Sovereignty and Nutrition Education, which brought together specialists from different branches of MINAG in the province, revealed the main challenges to complete the SAN Plan, emanating from collective thinking:

    By virtue of the provisions of Article 168 of the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, regarding municipal autonomy, the different territories have the obligation to strengthen local food systems to meet the needs of their demarcation.

    Likewise, there is an urgent need for greater integration and responsibility of the institutions involved in the Plan, whose shortcomings are due to the lack of knowledge, essential to identify and become aware of this prioritized program in the country.

    In the opinion of the specialists, the divorce between the different productive forms and the scientific results persists, although the tendency is to improve in this sense; it is necessary to promote local development projects linked to obtaining food and promote linkages.

    Is it necessary to establish price policies that favor harvests, marketing and access to food, including those most recommended for consumption, considering the proliferation of diseases such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, obesity and cardiovascular disorders, conditions that require strict eating habits to prolong life?

    The social communication actions that are developed by the organizations involved and the press are insufficient, with the purpose of guiding those involved and the general population about this project, its benefits and the necessary collective cooperation to materialize it.

    Food culture, to cite just one example, requires the participation of health and educational institutions to form healthy consumption habits, based on knowledge about what a healthy diet represents.In addition, capacity building, guidance and technical assistance to the base, the generalization of the results of science and rigor in control actions are unavoidable, the latter urging a change that ensures checks that coincide with the strategic axes.

    In theoretical and organizational matters, the "table" is served, you just need to "eat" and do it with your appetite.