Food safety in Cuba is hampered by limited productivity of fresh food crops. Their availability on local markets largely depends on importation of cereals, vegetables and fruits. The Cuban State develops a sound political line of crop diversification in which a crucial component is the regular supply of local markets in fresh food products issued from short cycles. Heavy constraints characterize local cropping systems: degraded soils, climate change, pests and diseases either present or potential.
Adapted varieties, either resistant or tolerant, can be used to alleviate these constraints, and they can further be involved in innovative, environmental friendly, less costly cropping systems thanks to the reduction of entrants. Banana crop production is a key pillar of this political line, given its high nutritive value and population food habits. INIVIT and CIRAD have produced new hybrids, either tolerant or resistant to plant diseases. However, their respective responses to environmental conditions (soil and climate) are unknown.
These responses are crucially required to define sound management practices within well-adapted, innovative, performing cropping systems. Cuba offers a patchwork of soil and climate conditions, and thus an ideal terrain to apprehend the ecophysiological responses of the new varieties. These new hybrids will be studied in a multi-site experimental setup to develop technical packages that will integrate advances in biotechnology to favor sustainable production. The research will be conducted in the framework of four doctoral theses, contributing to the capacity building of the institutions concerned in Cuba. One large-scale R&D action will concern the valorization of the new varieties at farm level.