25.06.2018

The waru-waru system used by the Inca required hand planting, hand weeding, hand harvest, and laborious maintenance annually, plus a rebuilding of the beds every ten years. Two decades ago, a report by the Organization of American States (OAS) on waru-waru farming in Peru showed that the production costs in this system worked out at 480 US dollars for each 11.2 kg of potatoes.

Most recently, agroecology advocates have claimed the island nation of Cuba as a success story. Cuban farmers lost their access to highly subsidised imports of fuel and agricultural chemicals when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1989, so many retreated from modern methods to pre-industrial techniques. They replaced tractors with oxen and hand hoes and fertilisers with animal manure, and they controlled pests not with chemicals but with biological methods and intercropping. Activist researchers like Peter Rosset claimed in the Journal of Peasant Studies that this was a “rapid and successful” spread of agroecology.