Cuba's Annual Agricultural Festivity
By: Marlen Borges / Photos by José Tito Meriño
The romping, riding, roping skills of Cuban cowboys, that's correct Cuban cowboys, were audience favourites at the 15th edition of the International Agricultural Fair (Fiagrop 2012). The exciting fun-filled weeklong fair took place as usual at the Rancho Boyeros Havana suburb from March 17th to 25th.
This is Cuba's principal agriculture and livestock show and, besides the intense rodeo tournaments and animal judging, there were exhibits, technical conferences, cultural and recreational activities and the very important traditional Trade Fair. This fair-within-a-fair (held March 21st to 25th) drew 52 firms from 13 countries, including Cuba, and concluded with the signing of several interesting business deals as well as the promotion of exchanges of technology, agricultural equipment and veterinary products.
From the first day, the talented Cuban Rodeo stars stole the show with their calf roping, bull riding, barrel racing, tie-down roping and other colourful performances, although they shared the ring with cowboys from Mexico, Colombia and Panama. According to Cuban Cowboy Rodeo Society and International Rodeo Confederation President Anadelio Gonzalez Herrera, Cuba —along with Canada, the USA, Brazil and Australia— is among the top five countries in the world in this discipline.
Fiagrop 2012's judging area was the stage for a large number of champion contenders in the various breeds of domestic livestock, subdivided by gender and age. Beautiful specimens of sheep, goats, pigs and buffalo could be seen, as well as Criollo, Taino, Siboney, Holstein, Jersey and Brown Swiss cattle, and even the Santa Gertrudis and the Bermejo and White type Cuban Zebu. Among competing horses were Appaloosa, Cuban Pinto, Patibarcino, Arabian and Quarter Horse breeds.
Just a few metres away from the traditional animal contestants, with their own exhibition bay, the appealing genetically improved guinea pigs competed. There were also several species of birds and rabbits in the exhibit.