The US Sells its Chicken Cheaper and Cuba Takes the Opportunity to Buy More

Chicken package sold in Cuba. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 5 April 2022 — Chicken exports from the United States to Cuba marked a milestone again in February. According to the Cuban economist Pedro Monreal with a source in the US Department of Agriculture, the amount that arrived on the island that month, 31,212 tons, is the third largest in the last two decades, behind those registered in July 2019 (33,842 tons ) and in March 2021 (32,755).

This represents an increase of 33% compared to the previous month. Likewise, in February there was a slight reduction in the price of the product, from 0.91 dollars in January to 0.87 per kilogram, which meant that Havana disbursed only 28% more.

Monreal recalls, through his Twitter account, that between 2001 and 2021, the US exported a total of 2.78 million tons of chicken meat to Cuba, for a total value of 2.368 billion dollars, 39.5 % of it from 2017 to 2021.

Imports of US chicken by Cuba in 2021 broke all previous records, as the economist disclosed at the beginning of the year. Never since records have been kept have there been more than 300,000 tons exported by the neighboring country to the Island, for an annual value of 279.7 million dollars, almost double, 94.64% more, compared to 2020, when the Island disbursed 143.7 million.

In quantity, 307,658 tons were imported in 2021 compared to 170,105 the previous year.

However, the increase in the importation of the product has not been noticed as much in stores that take payment in Cuban pesos as it has been in markets that take payment in freely convertible currency (MLC) and on internet shopping sites. The most-in-demand boxes of hindquarters, whole chickens or breasts have reappeared among the products on these foreign exchange portals.

The boxes, which range between 15 and 18 kilograms with prices ranging from 98 to 115 dollars, had practically disappeared at the end of last year and the beginning of this year, when it was only possible to find smaller packages. Customers prefer to purchase larger volumes at once to guarantee supplies in case of shortages.

However, the purchase of large quantities presents the danger that the frozen chicken will spoil during the long power outages that are occurring throughout the Island. Consumers must choose between two risks: that of buying a little at once and ending up with no chicken in the fridge or losing groceries after a long power outage.


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