ICRA’s activities are normally in partnership with other organizations from both “North” and “South”. They include projects where we take the lead, and others where we play a supporting role. Typically our capacity development role supports broader rural innovation processes to help achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

Facilitating innovation processes in Cuba

Programa de Innovación Agropecuaria Local

Facilitating innovation processes in Cuba

Geographical location:


Time frame:

2005 - 2015


Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC), Welthungerhilfe Germany (WHH), and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Cuba


Agencia Suiza para el Desarrollo y la Cooperación (COSUDE), Welthungerhilfe Alemania (WHH) y la embajada de Países Bajos en Cuba

ICRA Contact Person:

Juan Ceballos-Müller

Alliance of ICRA with the 'Programma para Fortalecer la Innovación Agropecuaria Local' (PIAL) in Cuba to facilitate complex imovation processes.


The Programma para Fortalecer la Innovación Agropecuaria Local started in 2000. PIAL's experiences needed to be scaled out and its practices and methods disseminated to all provinces in Cuba. At the same time, PIAL was to be anchored within Cuban institutions, both at local and at national levels.


Overall objective:
Improved quality of life for women and men who depend on agriculture, in 45 municipalities throughout Cuba.

Specific objectives:
Producers, technicians, researchers, government officials, entrepreneurs and decision makers in 45 municipalities are linked through innovation platforms or local innovation groups. This helps them generate and continuously use innovations and sustainable solutions, with a focus on gender equity.


Objetivo general:
Mejorar la calidad de vida de mujeres y hombres que dependen de la agricultura en 45 municipios de Cuba.

Objetivo específico:
Vincular mediante plataformas de innovación o grupos de innovación locales a productores, técnicos, investigadores, funcionarios públicos, emprendedores y responsables de toma de decisiones en 45 municipios. Esto los ayuda a generar y usar permanentemente innovaciones y soluciones sostenibles, con un enfoque en igualdad de género.

ICRA's role

ICRA supported PIAL in building a critical mass of champions who are facilitating learning and local innovation processes. Together with local actors, PIAL draws lessons from their joint experience, use these to improve their joint practices, and share lessons with other groups to multiply learning opportunities. Furthermore, through its international network, ICRA has exposed both champions and local actors to experiences in Bolivia and Spain.

ICRA's role

El ICRA apoyó al PIAL para desarrollar una masa crítica de promotores que facilitan aprendizaje y procesos de innovación locales. En conjunto con actores locales, el PIAL parte de los aprendizajes y experiencia en equipo y los utiliza para mejorar sus prácticas conjuntas, e intercambia lecciones con otros grupos con el fin de multiplicar las oportunidades de aprendizaje. Además, a través de su red internacional, el ICRA ha permitido que las/los promotores y actores locales tengan experiencias en Bolivia y España.

Achievements to date

In 2014, ICRA, in collaboration with PIAL, trained 32 local organization representatives to catalyze rural businesses. A further 15 institutional representatives were trained to catalyze best practices in governments and local innovation platforms. As a result and as a product of ICRA’s action learning cycles, 13 business models were formulated, leading to a favourable environment for introducing the concept of inclusive markets in PIAL.

Achievements to date

En 2014, el ICRA en colaboración con el PIAL capacitó a 32 representantes de organizaciones locales para catalizar agroindustrias rurales. Asimismo, dio capacitación a 15 representantes institucionales para catalizar mejores prácticas en gobernanza y plataformas de innovación locales. Como resultado y producto de los ciclos de aprendizaje activo del ICRA, se formularon 13 modelos agroindustriales, lo que llevó a generar un ambiente favorable para introducir en el PIAL el concepto de mercados inclusivos.

Published on: 09 - January - 2015

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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”.

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