Agricultural regression

Cuba is sometimes held up as an alternative model for agriculture, but this can't be a step in the right direction:
President Raul Castro is promoting the beasts of burden as a way for the economically strapped communist country to ramp up food production while conserving energy.

He recently suggested expanding a pilot program that gives private farmers fallow government land to cultivate — but without the use of gas-guzzling machinery.

"For this program we should forget about tractors and fuel, even if we had enough. The idea is to work basically with oxen," Castro told parliament Aug. 1. "An increasing number of growers have been doing exactly this with excellent results."
Via The Oil Drum.

Update: According to The Economist, things are not going well:
Food is also in short supply. Despite its abundant farmland, Cuba imports 80% of its food (much of it from the United States since a loophole was opened in the embargo in 2001). Inefficient state farms occupy three-quarters of the best land but leave much of it idle. Raúl Castro has tried to raise production by offering land to private farmers. But this scheme has been slow to get off the ground: agricultural production actually fell by 7.3% in the first quarter, and meat production fell by 14.7%.

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