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Cuba has approved an investment programme to build several plants to produce biofertilizers and biopesticides, as part of its efforts to revitalize the depressed agricultural sector, a senior official said.

Attending an international forum "Labiofam 2012" which closed here Friday, Minister of Agriculture Gustavo Rodriguez said they would establish the new plants in a three-year period, reported Xinhua.

Labiofam is Cuba's most important group devoted to the production of biotechnological products for agriculture and medicine.

Besides providing farmers with biofertilizers and biopesticides, the project aims to maintain yields, import substitutes and protect the environment.

Rodriguez said scientists were seeking nutritional alternatives for the soil to reduce the use of high doses of mineral fertilizers.

Cuba has some 350,000 farmers engaged in food production for a population of 11.2 million.

Cuba imports each year 80 percent of its food, with a bill fluctuating between $1.5 billion and $2 billion.

The revival of agriculture to increase food production on the island is considered an "urgent challenge" and a matter of "national security", Rodriguez said.
Source: Two

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