14ymedio, Madrid, 8 September 2022 — In July, Cuba paid the highest price in the last three years for a pound of chicken. According to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, published by Cuban economist Pedro Monreal, the product reached $2.2/pound that month, a record in the monthly statistics available, which begin in January 2019.
To date, the highest value reached was $1.04, in May 2021. A month later, in June of last year, the cost dropped to $1.02. Since then, it was only in May of this year that it increased again.
This July, Cuba bought 20,832 tons of chicken from the U.S., 10% less than last month, when the amount exceeded 23,000, compensating for the scarce amount acquired in May 2022, which, at 14,248 tons, was the lowest since November 2020.
Despite the reduction in its purchases, Cuba had to pay 2% more this year, reflecting the increase in unit value. In Monreal’s opinion, this increase is due to “the combination of high demand for a cheap protein source, the increase in supply factors and greater operational risk.”
Since the beginning of the year, Cuba has already paid $152.3 million to the United States for the meat of this bird alone. According to data from the U.S.-Cuba Economic and Trade Council, Cuba’s purchase volume from the U.S. amounts to $167,653,569, reflecting the fact that chicken accounts for 90.8% of total spending.
According to July data, U.S. exports of agricultural products exceeded $23 million, compared to almost $20 million in the same month in 2021 and $12.8 million in July 2020.
However, annual sales have fallen by 6.2% compared to the previous year, when they reached $178,774,363.
Among the products that the Island acquires from the U.S., in addition to chicken which accounts for the largest share, are coffee, butter, cocoa, vegetable juices, olive oil, wood pulp, popcorn, corn chips and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as deodorant, soap, disinfectant and insecticide.
Despite the multi-million dollar amounts, which largely belie the regime’s discourse on the U.S.blockade — Cuba is exempt from the embargo on purchases of agricultural, pharmaceutical or basic necessities as long as it pays in advance and in cash. Cubans continue to rebuke the Government for the shortage of chicken meat, whose domestic production is rock bottom (19,700 tons in 2021) and, meaning 90% of consumption depends on imports.
On September 1, the Ministry of Internal Trade, in an article published in the official media, said that the family basket was ensured for that month. However, many responses addressed to the entity showed that chicken has not reached many people for months.
“If all that is guaranteed, how is it possible that we are in September and all the chicken of the month of August hasn’t yet been distributed; what explanation is there for that?” one user demanded to know.
Although the ministry’s spokesman replied that there were delays and that the August chicken would be distributed in September, mistrust and weariness are no longer hidden.
“Where is the August chicken, where is the meat for people with special diets, where is the children’s picadillo, where is the August coffee, where, where, where is your truth, you managers of internal trade?” asked another commentator, indignant.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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