The recent volatility of food crop prices and the rising cost of inputs-fossil fuels, fertilizers, and pesticides-have made it nearly impossible for many of the world's smallholder farmers to continue managing their agroecosystems, leaving their countries dependent on ever more costly food imports. Food Sovereignty, a food system model spearheaded by La Via Campesina and other rural social movements around the globe, represents a unique opportunity to address the vulnerability of national food systems. Thanks to its mass organizations and popular participation in national policy, Cuba is one of the few countries with the capacity to implement food sovereignty, which could help it minimize the threats posed by food price fluctuation, extreme climatic events-the island experienced three catastrophic hurricanes in 2008 alone-and the persistent U.S. hostility towards its national project. The advance of food sovereignty in Cuba, as elsewhere, requires a profound commitment to the principles of agroecology, a heightened appreciation for smallholder farmer participation in increasing food production, and the possibility to design, manage and implement such a model at the national level. Guided by the principles of agroecology, and with the express aim of advancing the struggle for food sovereignty, researchers at the Universidad Central de Las Villas (UCLV) in Villa Clara province, Cuba are developing indicators of food sovereignty for practical use at the smallholder farm level. Adapted from the source document.
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