Usufruct Land Use in Cuba: A Key Objective for Food Sovereignty?

Authors: Sarah Blue*, Texas State University - San Marcos, Amy Trauger, University of Georgia
Topics: Agricultural Geography, Development, Latin America
Keywords: agroecology, food sovereignty, Cuba, usufruct land tenure
Session Type: Paper
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In capitalist countries, the push for food sovereignty and making land accessible to would-be farmers confronts the barrier of high land prices and low agricultural profitability. Cuba, a global leader in agroecological innovation and transition, has addressed these issues by offering land to new farmers under a usufruct system. Over two million hectares of land have been granted in usufruct in Cuba over the last ten years. We use evidence from interviews with Cuban farmers, experts and secondary literature to understand the role of usufruct in the overall goal of food security in Cuba and reflect on its broader global implications. What are the mechanics of the Cuban model (i.e., how do Cuban farmers access usufruct land) and to what degree has the system advanced Cuban goals of greater food production and food security? To what degree can lessons from the Cuban model be applied to capitalist systems of agriculture? This paper uses the Cuban example to examine the potential for usufruct land tenure systems to advance food sovereignty goals.

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