Galia Figueroa Alfonso

Research countries
  • Cuba
Professional experience

- Assistant Professor and Researcher, Social Studies of Science and Technology Department, Universidad de la Habana, La Habana, Cuba (2011-2015) - Assistant Professor, Sociology Department, Universidad Central "Marta Abreu" de Las Villas, Santa Clara, Cuba (2006-2011)


- Master Degree in Social Development, Latin-American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO), University of Havana, Cuba (2007-2009) - Bachelor of Science in Sociology (Bachelor Degree with Honors), University of Havana, Cuba (2001-2006)

Research affiliation

Agricultural Economics Faculty, University of Bonn

Thesis title

Alternative agriculture and farmers’ decision making processes in the context of the "updating of the socio-economic model" in Cuba

Thesis abstract

After the collapse of the Socialist block a sound economic crisis took place in Cuba with enormous consequences for the agricultural sector and the food security of the population. Previously, the large majority of the inputs for agriculture and foodstuff were imported from East Europe. Without the USSR’s support, the absence of supplies was supplemented with alternative agricultural production techniques. This alternative agriculture, that took the name of Agroecology, was developed everywhere and for everybody during the crisis.

With the relative economic recovery of the country after the 90s, discussions regarding the viability of agroecology and whether this kind of agriculture can provide enough food for the population and national food security are taking place. The dilemma: short‐term alternative to the crisis or long‐term agriculture model still remains unsolved in the actual debate on agriculture in Cuba. This discussion occurs at both, a scientific and political level, between scientists and policy makers attached to conventional patterns, and between those who support a long‐term agroecological conversion.

In such a context, the main aim of the study is to answer the following questions: are agro-ecological practices economically and institutionally viable or are they just a temporary phenomenon caused by a historical crisis? Do they have a future in the current changing institutional context? How do farmers make technological decisions regarding conventional or agroecological agriculture? Why have the farmers adopt agro-ecological practices in Cuba from the 1990s onwards?

The study intends to shed light on these issues through the use of qualitative and quantitative methods. The study expects to provide an analysis on the evolution of Cuban food policy in the last 30 years and its linkages with agriculture models; to reveal the history of pro-agroecology organizations, institutions and groups (their main figures, successes and failures, and nowadays challenges); and to assess, through qualitative social cost and benefit analysis, the possibilities of agroecological practices in the current and future Cuban context.

Analytical studies on the experiences of Cuba concerned with non-technological sphere of agroecology are still scare. This study will provide a socio-economic and political analysis of the feasibility of this form of agriculture that will enrich global scientific debates about the viability of non-conventional agriculture. It will also contribute to farmers’ decision-making studies from an interdisciplinary perspective and will provide practical knowledge to decision-making processes in agricultural politics and food security in Cuba.


Doctoral research funded by

- German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) - Fiat Panis Foundation

Supervisors of
doctoral work

Prof. Jan Börner Prof. Dr. Joachim von Braun

Advisor at ZEF

Dr. Wolfram Laube


Armando Nova González , Galia Figueroa Alfonso.  2018.  Recent transformations in Cuban agricultural policy and impacts on markets and production.  Elem Sci Anth, 6(1):78   . (Open Access)   Download [PDF | 2.59MB]
Further Information
Fernandez, M., Nelson, E., Locke, K., Figueroa, G. and Funes-Aguilar, F..  2018.  Cuba’sagrifood system in transition, an introduction to the Elementa Special Feature.  Elem SciAnth, 6(1):75   . (Open Access)   Download [PDF | 1.84MB]
Further Information
Margarita Fernandez , Justine Williams, Galia Figueroa, Garrett Graddy Lovelace, Mario Machado, Luis Vasquez, Nilda Perez, Leidy Casimiro, Graciela Romero, Fernando Funes Aguilar.  2018.  New opportunities, new challenges: Harnessing Cuba’s advances in agroecology and sustainable agriculture in the context of changing relations with the United States.  Elem Sci Anth, 6(1):76   . (Open Access)   Download [PDF | 2.69MB]
Further Information
Núñez Jover, J.and G. Figueroa Alfonso.  2018.  University, Technology and Development: Reflections from the South.  Spanish Philosophy of Technology, 24   : 139-150   . Further Information


Núñez Jover, J.; Figueroa Alfonso, G.; Alcázar Quiñones, A. and Proenza.  2017.  Universities, Inclusive Development, and Social Innovation: Does That Debate Matter in Cuba?.  In: Brundenius, C.; Göransson, B. and Carvalho de Mello, JM. (eds.): Universities, Inclusive Development and Social Innovation. An international perspective.. Springer.   125-146. 


Núñez Jover, J.; Figueroa Alfonso, G.; Alcázar Quiñones, A. and Armas Marrero.  2016.  Higher Education, Technological Change, and Local Development: Experiences and Challenges in Cuban Context.  In: Al-Hakim, L.; Xiaobo Wu ; Koronios, A. and Shou Y. (eds.): Handbook of Research on Driving Competitive Advantage through Sustainable, Lean, and Disruptive Innovation. Chapter 16. IGI Global.   376-395. 

Additionals, Curriculum Vitae
and Downloads

Galia Figueroa Alfonso

Junior Researcher


Department :
ZEF A: Department of Political and Cultural Change

galiafigueroa(at) ; s5gfigu(at)