Cuban science contributes to food sovereignty
Por Ivette Fernández
Havana._ Cuban food sovereignty ambitions go with the Caribbean island's scientific breakthroughs, which are able to provide today novel and more efficient solutions in the agricultural sector.
The country annually imports over 1.8 billion dollars worth of food, in which corn, soy and rice represent more than 30 percent.
Reversing that situation is vital to face the stepped-up blockade imposed by the United States for six decades amid a scenario of economic and financial uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mario Estrada, the Agricultural and Livestock Director of the Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Center (CIGB), revealed that in the last decade a technology was developed to obtain hybrid corn seeds.
According to the scientist, the potential hybrid reached productions between four and nine tons of dry corn per hectare, much higher than the ton per hectare obtained on the island by traditional means.
With these hybrid seeds, he said, more than 40 thousand tons of dry corn could be produced, equivalent to over 50 percent of the total produced in more than 100 thousand hectares in the country during 2019.
The Grain Research Institute, for its part, is generalizing in the western province of Pinar del Río the sowing of six new varieties of the grain.
Advantages include a narrower sowing area (the number of plants increases on the same surface), plus more erect leaves that allow more density with a capacity to contribute two and up to three cobs.
For its part, the National Agricultural Science Institute revealed that it obtained varieties of short-cycle soy, enabling it to be planted more than once a year.
The varieties, he pointed out, have the benefit of improving the soil where they are sown and being drought, salinity and high-temperature resistant.
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