Humberto Ríos Labrada

Regional coordinator Latin America

Based in:

Participatory research

PhD in Agricultural Sciences (1999). Agronomist (1984) from the Higher Pedagogical Institute for Technical and Professional Education, Cuba. Humberto participated in ICRA's ARD course in 2000, and in ICRA's Design and Management of Interactive Learning in Rural Innovation in 2009.


Participative approaches, grassroot approach, biodiversity research, rural innovation, local platforms


Since 2012, Humberto is the ICRA representative in Latin America. After being based in Bolivia for a couple of years, advising the (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation financed project) “El Programa de Innovación Contínua”, he recently shifted to Spain.


Humberto was a lecturer of plant breeding and experimental design for 12 years in Cuba. He has been involved in participatory research in Venezuela, Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, Colombia, Costa Rica, Central Asia and Cuba. He published several papers on participatory approaches in Agriculture and was invited as a guest lecturer in Canada, United States, Mexico, Norway, United Kingdom, Holland, Germany, Malaysia, China, Syria, Ethiopia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Honduras, Brazil and Venezuela. Humberto coordinated the Agricultural Local Innovation Programme (PIAL) in Cuba from 2001 to 2011.

In 2003, Humberto received the ‘Rural Innovation Award’ from the International Agriculture Centre, Wageningen, for his results in Participatory Plant Breeding. In 2010, he received the ‘Goldman Award’ (considered as Novel Green Prize) for his contribution to agriculture transformation in Cuba.

In 2011, Humberto, with two Cuban colleagues, published a book on agriculture, participation and climate change in Cuba "Innovación agroecológica, adaptación y mitigación del cambio climático" and recently “Chencho Transgénico”, a novel about changes of attitude in conventional researchers. Humberto contributed to the 2012 IDRC publication The custodians of biodiversity - Sharing Access to and Benefits of Genetic Resources

Humberto loves farming and singing and produced his first CD “Mango Chupé” with his musician friend Daniel Lodeiro.

Related blogs


Green entrepreneur in Cuba: "It hurts in the heart and in the pocket"

Los Innovadores Verdes: “los que le duele el corazón y el bolsillo”.

Small farmers emerged as ‘champions’ of food production in the 1990s, when the Soviet Union and its allies in eastern Europe cut their supply of agrochemicals and fossil fuels for the state farms in Cuba. They started applying agro-ecological principles and learning to produce more with less energy. There was an increased focus on taking good care of their land, property and environment. As one of the guajiros, small holder farmers, told us: "if there is something wrong on the farm - it hurts the heart and the pocket”.

Desde la década de los 90, década en que los antiguos países socialistas de la Europa del Este cortaron el abastecimiento de agroquímicos y combustibles fósiles destinada a la producción estatal en Cuba, los pequeños agricultores/as se convirtieron en los campeones de la producción de alimentos, aplicando principios agroecológicos y aprendiendo a producir más con menos gastos energéticos y sobre todo cuidando su tierra, finca y entorno: “si pasaba algo malo en la finca - a los guajiros y guajiras les dolía el corazón y su bolsillo”.


Facilitating innovation for community based seed systems

Interactive learning cycles and action learning have proved efficient to organize a critical mass of farmers promoting seed diversity in Cuba, Mexico and Bolivia.

This website uses cookies. More information.