Profits VS The Planet


Roland Sheppard

An October 1999 news release from Food First announced that the Right Livelihood Award Alternative Nobel Prize has gone to a Cuban group “promoting the organic revolution.” This group is the Grupo de Agricultura Organica (GAO), the Cuban organic farming association, which has been setting the standard for sustainable agriculture for the world.

In accepting this award, Dr. Fernando Funes-Aguilar, president of GAO, said: “This award is truly an honor for Cuba, for GAO, and for all the farmers, researchers, and policy makers who have struggled to make organic farming work in Cuba. We hope that our efforts will demonstrate to other countries that conventional chemically-dependent agriculture is not the only way to feed a country.”

In the press release, Peter Rosset, executive director of Food First, said: “This award shows the enormous potential of sustainable agriculture, which is so underexploited in other countries. The whole world should learn from Cuba.” Dr. Rosset went on to say that “in Cuba, organic is for everyone, not just for those who can afford it.”

In past articles I have written on the importance of the Cuban developments in agriculture. I have also described how the Cuban socialist revolution helped establish harmony between science and nature in order to establish a sustainable economy and environment.

Cuban agricultural practices are far different from those of the chemical-dependent agriculture for profit in capitalist society that, based on the ever-increasing use of pesticides, is making cancer part of our food chain.

This award supports those conclusions. Researchers around the world are now beginning to recognize Cuba’s achievements in this area.

In the previous article are excerpts from an article ( by Elizabeth Agnew, the Cuba program director for the Worldwide Fund for Nature.

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[Editor’s note: We reprint this article by the Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt (CADTM). In 1989, the Bastille Appeal was launched, inviting popular movements throughout the world to unite in demanding the immediate and unconditional cancellation of the debt of the so-called developing countries. This crushing debt, along with neo-liberal macro-economic reforms imposed on the global South, has led to an explosion of worldwide inequality, mass poverty, flagrant injustice and the destruction of the environment.


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