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Cuba was the first country in the Americas to start working seriously on SICA (the Spanish acronym for SRI), thanks to the initiatives of Dr. Rena Pérez, advisor on food security for the Ministry of Sugar, who learned of it in 2000 from a Cornellian at a conference. The first sugar cooperative to try SRI, CFA Camilo Cienfuegos in Bahia Honda, got 9.5 t/ha its first season in 2001 (compared with the usual yield of 6.5 t/ha) which increased during the 2002/2003 season to 10 and 14 t/ha on its two SRI plots.

  Photos of SRI Projects in Cuba - See also album

The Rice Research Institute (IIA) and the National Institute of Agricultural Sciences (INCA) have had trials over the past few years, with the latter reporting a 12 t/ha yield the first season at its rice research station at Los Palacios. A government program, Arroz Popular, to encourage smallholder rice production has taken up SRI as part of its national strategy. By the end of 2003, eight provinces in Cuba had reported initiating SRI trials, with an average yield increase of 71%. The 4th International Rice Meeting convened in Cuba, June 2-6, 2008, and featured a round table on SRI, including experiences in Cuba, Peru and Panama. During February 2009 , participants at the National Group of Cuban Urban Agriculture agreed to plant a minimum of 0.5 hectares SRI in 140 of Cuba's 169 municipalities, which includes all of the country's rice-producing municipalities.

Dr. Pérez, who continues to be a primary SRI promoter in Cuba and throughout Latin America, has produced and disseminated training materials and videos, and in 2009 initiated SICA-America-Latina, a Spanish language Google Group for discussions about the SRI, focusing primarily on Latin America. Also during 2009, trials were begun in San Antonio de los Baños to adapt sprinkler use for use with SRI methods. The Agricultural Engineering Research Institute (IAGRIC) coordinated a workshop in Havana (Dec. 12-16, 2011) to discuss problems associated with mechanization and water use in rice production and the opportunities to use SRI (SICA) to address some of them.

Adaptation for sugarcane: During 2011, the first trials with adapting SRI principles to sugarcane began in Bahía Honda. The reduction in planting material from 13 to 2 tons/ha together with the size of the plants has already attracted much interest from both growers and government officials. (This method, known as Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative (SSI) in India where it was first tried, is called "SiCAS" in Cuba.) While the trials burned accidentally two months prior to the intended harvest date, larger more numerous leaves (11 vs. the normal 7 leaves) and increased tillering (18-20 vs. the normal 12-13 tillers) has attracted much attention. A subsequent Dec. 15, 2012, presentation to Cuba's sugarcane industry professionals also garnered much interest. During 2015, Rene Pérez reported that a sugarcane cooperative in Las Tunas that had adapted the SiCAS methods in a dry part of the island to use three-bud setts, which both reduced the required planting material and increased the yields. The first commercial trial at Las Tunas included 15 ha using 3-bud setts in the rainy spring planting season of 2013.

Progress and Activities


Reports and General Articles

(in chronological order)


SICA America Latina Discussion Group

Workshops and Meetings

Practical Information


PowerPoint Presentations

(Notes: Click here to see all SRI Cuba presentations on Transcripts are at the bottom of each presentation. There is a "full screen" button at the lower right corner of the presentation to enlarge the presentation. If you have trouble viewing the slideshow, make sure you have Flash 9 or higher installed and JavaScript enabled.)

Photo Collection

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