Blog Snapshots of Success: Conserving Cuba’s Agrobiodiversity

Snapshots of Success: Conserving Cuba’s Agrobiodiversity - Alliance Bioversity International - CIAT

Rome’s Botanical Garden hosted a unique photo exhibition to mark the conclusion of the COBARB Project. Researchers share some of the images here.  

By: Gaia Gullotta 

What does agrobiodiversity look like in Cuba?

For over 10 years, Alliance researchers and partners gathered photographs while conducting fieldwork as part of a UNEP-GEF initiative dedicated to supporting sustainable agriculture in Cuba, “Agrobiodiversity Conservation and Man and the Biosphere Reserves in Cuba: Bridging Managed and Natural Landscapes” (COBARB Project).

In October 2023, these images were displayed in the Sapienza University Botanical Garden, Rome

Conserving Cuba’s Agrobiodiversity - Image 1 - Alliance Bioversity International - CIAT

Household survey section. Credit: Alliance Bioversity International and CIAT/G. Gullotta 

Home garden (huerto casero). Credit: Proyecto COBARB

Part of the exhibition: an image of a coffee flower (Credit: G. Gullota) at the Botanic Garden, Rome

The exhibition witnessed an exceptional turnout from the local community, as well as participants in the COBARB project. A Cuban delegation included Carlos Manuel Pérez Cuevas, the Director of the Havana Botanical Garden; Yanisbell Sánchez Rodríguez, Director of the Seed Production Unit at the Ministry of Agriculture of Cuba, and former Director of the Instituto de Investigaciones Fundamentales en Agricultura Tropical “Alejandro de Humboldt” (INIFAT); Ana Regina Torres Cárdenas, the head of the INIFAT library; and Rosa Maria Dragone, representative of AICS.  

We extend our gratitude to Sapienza University, and in particular, to Fabio Attorre, Director of the Botanical Garden, for providing us with such a captivating venue, offering the perfect backdrop to showcase the project.  

After a morning of engaging presentations on the results of the COBARB project and the scientific contribution of the Calvino family to the Experimental Agronomic Station in Santiago de Las Vegas, attendees had the opportunity to celebrate together the success of the project and share moments of joy and gratitude, and visit the tropical greenhouse. 

COBARB has been a vehicle for a significant exchange of knowledge, both from a scientific and human level. The collaboration between farmers from UNESCO's MAB reserves (Sierra del Rosario and Cuchillas del Toa) and the technical-scientific and administrative personnel of INIFAT, Centro Nacional de Áreas Protegidas (CNAP), World Biodiversity Association (WBA) and Bioversity International (now Alliance Bioversity International and CIAT) has yielded tangible results that will contribute to the long-lasting impact on sustainable agriculture in Cuba. 

Thank you to all who contributed to the success of this extraordinary event. Your interest and support are crucial to our ongoing commitment to a more sustainable and collaborative future. 

More about this work can be learned in the book: Family Farms and the Conservation of Agrobiodiversity in Cuba