FAO Investment Centre

Stronger agroforestry cooperatives in Cuba

Coffee plant

The Cuban Government is keen to boost the production of coffee and cocoa – two crops strategically important to the nation’s economy.

Production of both has fallen substantially in recent years, due in large part to unfavourable trade conditions with other countries, declining producer real prices and extreme weather events.

A project co-funded by IFAD and Cuba’s Agroforestry Business Group, designed with FAO support, aims to strengthen around 300 agroforestry cooperatives specialized in coffee and cocoa production, as well as the cooperatives’ service providers.

The project will take place in Cuba’s mountainous eastern region, where most of the country’s coffee and cocoa is grown.

Many of the region’s farming communities are in remote, difficult to access areas. Rural migration is high. More productive, profitable and resilient agroforestry cooperatives will go a long way to improving these communities’ wellbeing and food security and could potentially bring more young people into the sector.

In designing the project, the IFAD-FAO team analysed Cuba’s coffee and cocoa value chains and agroforestry systems from an agronomic, agro-ecological and socioeconomic perspective. They assessed the capacity of existing cooperatives and identified strategies for strengthening their management and governance.

Key to well-performing cooperatives is the availability of technical and financial services and training. The IFAD-FAO team focused on ways to improve the scope and quality of such services along the supply chain – from the production of certified seed and plant varieties, to the biological control of disease and pests, to more efficient and well-equipped pulping, drying and fermentation facilities.

They also looked at measures to rehabilitate rural roads to improve transportation and access to rural financing. And they highlighted the importance of supporting national research institutes driving the development of technological innovations. The project pilots a results-based lending approach, with the IFAD-FAO team identifying the most appropriate indicators to link disbursements with outputs and outcomes.

Photo credit Coffee Management Services (CC BY 2.0)
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