Strengthening food security in Cuba

For more than 3 years, Cuba, Chile and the European Union implemented a Triangular Cooperation initiative to strengthen animal health in the Caribbean country.

One of the basic dimensions of food security is the biological consumption and utilization of food. This involves ensuring that people have physical and economic access to nutritious and safe food, reducing the risk of contamination.

In this regard, in the framework of the EU-LAC Triangular Cooperation Program Adelante, Chile, Cuba and the EU developed a project to “raise animal health standards in order to increase the availability of safe food of animal origin, thus improving food security for Cuba’s population” (Adelante, 2023). Officials of the Cuban Ministry of Agriculture and people that are part of the country’s public or private agricultural production units are among the direct beneficiaries of this initiative. The Agricultural and Livestock Service of Chile (SAG by its Spanish acronym) was the first provider of this Triangular initiative.

The project began its implementation at the end of 2017 and the first activities were implemented in 2018. Eight internships were carried out in which 16 Cuban officials were trained in Chile, at the Lo Aguirre Laboratory and Quarantine Station and in SAG’s Headquarters. Quality assurance systems; feed microscopy; veterinary drug detection; diagnosis of salmonella, swine diseases, avian influenza; and surveillance and control programs for avian influenza and swine diseases, are among the main topics that were addressed (Adelante, 2018). In addition, two visits from Cuba to Chile and one from Chile to Cuba were carried out that same year to consolidate knowledge and laboratory practices. This laid the legal bases for the purchase of equipment and supplies that was planned for the coming years.

Indeed, in 2019, Cuban doctor Laymara Amarán, of the National Laboratory of Veterinary Diagnosis (LNDV by its Spanish acronym), visited the Animal Health Research Center (IRTA-CReSA by its Catalan acronym) in Barcelona to be trained in the “isolation of classical swine fever virus and its study using the Immunoperoxidase Monolayer Assay (IPMA) method” (Adelante, 2019).

Subsequently, in March 2020, a monitoring mission took place in Havana to analyze the execution, scope and possible deviations of the project, as well as to design a strategy to completely achieve its outcomes. However, “in view of the health crisis, the entities in charge of the project adopted complementary measures to comply with deadlines and commitments” (Adelante, 2020).

Finally, in 2022, Chile and the EU made a donation of equipment to the National Food Hygiene Laboratory and the National Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory of Cuba (LNDV by its Spanish acronym) to facilitate swine fever diagnostics and food safety (AGCID, 2022). This contributed to strengthening the physical and technological infrastructure of the Caribbean country in line with the Law enacted in July 28th, 2022, through which the Republic of Cuba sets “the general legal framework to achieve food sovereignty and strengthen food and nutritional security to protect the right of all people to healthy and adequate food” (Official Gazette of the Ministry of Justice of Cuba, 2022, p. 2098).

January 2024

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Source: SEGIB based on Agencies and Directorates-General for Cooperation and the Official Gazette of the Ministry of Justice of Cuba (2022, p. 2098), AGCID (2022) and Adelante (2023) (2020) (2019) (2018).

Photos: Researchers from Mexico and Uruguay work to map viral diseases of economic impact for poultry farming in order to identify the genetic characteristics of the agents that cause them. Bilateral SSC project between Mexico and Uruguay Development and application of biotechnological tools in animal health for the implementation of a research network on viral diseases affecting commercial poultry farming. Image bank on South‑South and Triangular Cooperation in Ibero‑America. SEGIB‑PIFCSS. 2021.