Abstract: This study analyzes Livelihoods (LH) of Sheep-Raising Families (SRF) in nine communities with three types of land tenancy in the Cauto Valley Region of Granma, Cuba. The study consisted of the following stages. First we analyzed the history of agriculture on a regional scale by reviewing secondary information sources. Second, on a community level, through participatory workshops, we analyzed the families vulnerabilities, institutional context and values. Third, on the SRF level, through participatory workshops and interviews with farmers, we analyzed Livelihood Strategies (LS) based on income strategies and capitals or resources. Finally, in another set of participatory workshops, we developed a process for social learning based on the LH workshops. This process consisted of identifying the problem, proposing possible solutions and evaluating and selecting alternatives which might be put into practice. Results show the following: first, Cuban agriculture has undergone technological, economic, social and environmental changes from the stages of settlement, growth, maturity and collapse to the current stage of renovation through agro-ecological innovation and organic production. Second, the most significant vulnerability factors have been the economic blockade against Cuba, market dynamics and natural disasters. Policies, laws and the economic context have affected the community in a variety of ways and the families values such as fidelity, respect, solidarity and patriotism have helped them cope. Third, the LH of the SRF are heterogeneous and diversified. The LS of workers of the Basic Units of Cooperative Production are primarily based on wage labor and to a lesser extent agriculture while the LS of small-scale farmers with their own land and those with land in usufruct are principally based on agriculture and to a lesser extent wage labor. Total family income ranges from 532-1,028 US dollars annually of which sheep raising provides between 4.9 and 24.4%. The SRF have strong social and human capital while natural, physical and financial capitals are weak. The most pressing problems identified for the three types of land tenancy are deforestation, environmental contamination, disturbed natural vegetation and soil degradation. Innovations proposed by the families to address these problems comply with sustainable land management criteria.
Isela Ponce, Jose Nahed, Manuel Parra and Francisco Guevara, 2019. Livelihood of Sheep-Raising Families in the Eastern Region of Cuba. Research Journal of Biological Sciences, 14: 36-51.