14ymedio, Havana, 6 May 2023 — On Friday, the Cuban government reversed the measure taken last week to eliminate the rationed sale of chicken to Cubans over age 13, who would have to settle for picadillo and mortadella. The change coincides with the arrival at the port of Havana of a container ship carrying chicken, confirmed by 14ymedio.
In a brief note, the Ministry of Internal Trade reported that the selling of chicken from the regulated family basket began this Friday in Camagüey, while the distribution in the other provinces will depend on the future availability of the food. The institution explained that children up to and including the age of 13 will receive one and a half pounds of poultry, and, from the age of 14, they will be entitled to only one pound.
The websites that follow the international maritime movement, recorded the arrival this Friday in Havana of the ship Orange Spirit, with the flag of the Bahamas, from New Orleans, United States.
Faced with the fall in chicken imports from the United States, the Cuban authorities acknowledged last week that they did not have enough food for national distribution and excluded those over 13 years of age from deliveries, with the exception of people on medical diets.
Chicken imports from the United States fell in March for the second consecutive month, when Cuba spent $17,830,000 for 18,280 tons purchased, while in February it had bought 23,014 tons for $23,500,000.
Cuba imports chicken meat from the United States, Brazil, Spain, Poland and the Netherlands, although the supply of the latter two countries is unstable, with months in which not a single pound enters. Purchases from Brazil also plummeted by 68.1% between February and March, going from 3,565 to 1,137 tons, although they registered a more significant drop in January, with 975.5 tons.
Cuban economist Pedro Monreal pointed out that the Island could not take advantage of the lower price of American chicken in March, which he attributed to the lack of foreign exchange on the part of the Government. The United States sold a kilogram of meat [2.2 pounds] at an average of $0.97, five cents less than the $1.02 it cost last February.
The price of chicken meat skyrocketed in the second half of 2022 due to the increase in the price of feed for poultry — mainly corn, wheat and sorghum. This resulted in the price for Cuba reaching its highest ceiling in October, at $1.29 for 2.2 pounds, but decreasing to $0.93 in January of this year.
In recent weeks, the availability of food on store shelves has also been affected by the fuel crisis, which the country has been suffering since April. The general director of Merchandise Sales of the Ministry of Internal Trade, Francisco Silva, assured, interviewed by the official press, that priority will be given to the distribution of the food corresponding to May, available in the warehouses since April 29.
The absence of chicken, pigs, beef and fish is increasingly noticeable on the table of Cuban families, despite the fact that these foods are rich in protein and a source of energy for human development.
In Matanzas, the diets of malnourished and low-weight children, as well as pregnant women, are covered with quail eggs replacing chicken eggs. Boris Tiel Carraveo, director of the Poultry Company of the province, assured the official press that the meat is also sold to them in the “final decrepitude” phase of the bird.
The farms produce nine million units daily, whose main destination is social consumption and the young. The official assured that the plan contemplates obtaining eight million eggs in 2023, of which they had 2.4 million up to April.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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