LEARNING FROM NATURE: AN ECO-INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITY FOR IMPROVED FOOD AND ENERGY SELF-SUFFICIENCY IN THE PROVINCE OF SANTIAGO DE CUBA
MetadataShow full item record
Recently, one of the more significant measures on the part of the Cuban government to enhance resiliency of the existing economy was the announcement of a series of economic and social policy proposals referred to as lineamientos. These emphasize the importance of achieving long-term solutions for sustainable development, including, among other things, a need to improve food and energy self-sufficiency for the country. This research explores the possibility that an eco-industrial development approach could support these goals with a focus in the agricultural and agro-industrial sectors. Two concepts were applied to this intended new paradigm; namely integrated food and energy systems (IFES) and industrial symbiosis (IS). Three municipalities of the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba provided the regional basis for the research and were explored using an asset mapping approach to identify key facilities, material inputs, outputs and flows, infrastructure, and skills sets. Consultations with various stakeholder groups were conducted to gain insight in the current relationships and existing operational conditions that could inform the types of barriers and opportunities related to undertaking exchange and collaborative activities. The findings show that residues and by-products flows from various agricultural and agro-industrial operations can provide the basis for symbiotic networks that enable the generation of energy and added -value products of use to the region. The symbiotic linkages among agricultural and agro-industrial actors can give rise to an integrated food and energy production network (IFEPN) in the region where existing agricultural cooperatives, along with other emerging forms of social enterprise can support the development of this network. Considered a vital approach to solve problems in Cuba, collaboration is their most valuable asset for the successful development of the network.