Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 75–90 | Cite as

Cuba, Mexico, and India: Technical and social changes in agriculture during political economic crisis

  • John H. Perkins


Cuba entered a crisis in 1989 when its trading arrangements with the USSR and Eastern Europe collapsed, Their supplies of imported staple food and agricultural input supplies were severely curtailed. Thus the Cubans had to alter both the methods of farming and the mix of items produced. Despite differences in historical setting, the changes forced upon the Cubans are similar to earlier agricultural changes in Mexico and India. Three themes unite events in the countries: (1) National leaders wishing to industrialize their countries found it necessary to have agricultural productivities higher than subsistence levels. (2) Foreign exchange shortages were a major factor in promoting more intensive agriculture, (3) Lack of food self-sufficiency in wartime was a serious threat to a nation's security. Both Mexico and India chose to promote innovations needed for more intensive agriculture, even when this policy conflicted with ideologies and programs of social equality and justice. Current disruptions in the Cuban economy suggest that Cubans, too, will be forced to confront the tension between equity and production in agriculture.


Social Change Foreign Exchange Agricultural Economic Staple Food Intensive Agriculture 
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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

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  • John H. Perkins

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