U.S. Chicken Imports Fall by 66 Percent and Cubans Already Pay a Fortune for a Single Chicken Breast

The price of a kilo of chicken imported from the United States rose by 15% in September compared to August. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 8 November 2023 — Chicken is sought after in the streets of Havana. After a few months when the increase in private businesses had improved the availability of chicken meat, one of the most coveted foods on the Island after people had to give up first beef and then pork, things have gotten worse again. The product can found, but the most requested parts are scarce.

The complaint spreads by word of mouth in the capital: chicken quarters are often seen, but the breast or the whole animal are not easy to find. It is not known if there is a causal relationship, but the economist Pedro Monreal, who monitors imports of chicken from the United States, announced on Tuesday a collapse in purchases consistent with the perception of a decrease among the population.

In September, the United States sold 11,954 tons of chicken meat to the Island, an amount that includes the share that goes to the State and the share bought for resale by the MSMEs [private enterprises]. This is 66% less than the previous month, when the US exported 35,117 tons. The value totaled $14.4 million, 61% less than in August, when $37 million was spent.

“Three days ago I saw a box of chicken breast at 110 MLC (freely convertible currency),” says Miriam, scandalized. “Of course, I was dying laughing; no one pays that

The price has risen considerably compared to the previous month, by 15.2%, when a kilo cost $1.05 dollars. In September, its value at the port of embarkation amounted to $1.21 per kilo.

There was no chicken being sold in the bodegas (State ration stores) this Wednesday. “A short time ago it was still possible to get it in MSMEs, at fairs and so on, at about 250 pesos a pound,” Miriam, a housewife from Havana tells 14ymedio. “Coincidentally, yesterday I bought it in a private business, in Parque Trillo at 275 a pound, but in other MSMEs it’s up to 350 or 360,” she says, exhausted.

In recent months, Cubans noticed a slight decrease in the price of chicken that was even reflected in the public accounts. The September Consumer Price Index reflected the reduction in the amount of this product, by -1.39%, in that month’s inflation. But the effect, also caused by the increase in the number of people deprived of other imported food, could have its days numbered.

“Three days ago I saw a 15-kilogram box of chicken breast at 110 MLC (freely convertible currency),” says Miriam, scandalized. “Of course, I was dying laughing; no one pays that.”

Translated by Regina Anavy 


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