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Cuban Tobacco Farmers

Todd Shapera | Cuba

Organization: Todd Shapera Photography

A Cuban tobacco farmer, his hand rolled cigar, and sombrero on the edge of his field.

With scant resources for machinery and chemical fertilizers, Cuban farmers have had to survive by farming small plots with oxen and human labor.

 An unintended benefit of these lean decades has been evolving into “a rare oasis of organic and sustainable agriculture,” a NYTimes story stated.

Now, expanding U.S.-Cuban relations is seeding a tug-of-war for the allegiance of Cuban farmers between U.S. commercial agricultural companies and U.S. organic farm interests.

How Cuba modernizes, while navigating between these interests, will have profound consequences for  "the soul of Cuban agriculture" , the Times stated.

I sought to discover a slice of this Cuban agrarian soul before the transition begins.  I cycled a 3 km road of tobacco farms in mountainous Western Cuba that led to "Republica de Chile", founded in the 1970s as Cuba’s first farm cooperative.  Today,  3,600 cooperatives comprise over half of Cuba’s farm land.

 The farmers were welcoming and engaging when I approached on my bike, with my Nikon slung over my shoulder.  


email:  Todds@cloud9.net

web: www.ToddShapera.com


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