HAVANA, Nov 21. Pork production in Cuba fell by almost 90% in four years and Spain has taken advantage of this decline to become the main exporterof the product to the Island, according to the Institute of Foreign Trade of the Iberian nation (ICEX), on its exports and investments.
The ICEX study, titled “The pork sector market in Cuba”, reveals that pork production on the Island decreased by almost 90% between 2018 and 2022, when 15,000 tons were obtained, according to that Spanish entity. .
According to official figures from the Cuban State, almost 200,000 tons of pork were produced on the Island in 2018. Four years later, the authorities announced a goal of 26,000 tons, but the state press has not published the production obtained.
The report from the Spanish Institute points out that the economic crisis that Cuba is going through affects all aspects of the country’s life and significantly affects animal husbandry.
As the report points out, the majority of companies dedicated to livestock production are in state hands. “There is also a recently created mixed company that is dedicated to this sector,” the report notes.
In September 2022, the official press reported that the Carne D’Tres MSME was the first private company in Cuba authorized by the Government to receive foreign investment.
Meat production in Cuba is also mainly in the hands of state companies and some with foreign participation, according to the document. For this reason, the main source of supply of pork is imports, which, according to the ICEX, increased from 10 million dollars in 2018 and 40 million in 2022.
The main supplier of pork to Cuba in 2022 was Spain, according to the ICEX. A report from the Spanish entity from November last year maintained that “pork meat” had been the most exported product from Spain to Cuba from January to September 2022.
According to this ICEX report, the second largest exporter of pork to Cuba is Canada, and Brazil is in third place.
Until 2021, Spain and Canada exported similar figures of pork to Cuba, but in 2022 the Iberian nation’s exports increased. That jump was due “to subheading 0203.29, relating to frozen pork,” according to the report.
But that amount of imported pork, which quadrupled in four years, does not reach the tables of most Cubans. According to the report itself, “the main factors behind the demand for pork currently are: tourism and the consolidation of the middle class.”
For Cubans, pork has become a luxury item that those who do not receive remittances from abroad cannot afford. The average salary of a worker, which is around 4,000 pesos, is not enough to purchase the meat that used to be very present in the population’s diet and whose consumption was traditional at the end of the year.
At the moment, in Santiago de Cuba it is sold for 500 pesos; In Holguín, the price is around 380 pesos, but it is scarce. In Havana, it already exceeds 600 pesos.
In September, a Cuban MSME began marketing imported pork at 650 Cuban pesos per pound and, as another of these businesses did in Havana, but with chicken, it sold the product in the middle of the street, directly from the refrigerated container that left the port. .
In October, it emerged that the already low goal of producing 27,000 tons of pork in 2023 would be difficult to meet. As is usual in official discourse, the state press blamed the probable non-compliance on the US embargo.
Days before, the state press had reported that the Granma Provincial Pork Company owed thousands of pesos in freely convertible currency (MLC) to pork producers. Producer Alejandro Sosa Rodríguez denounced that he had been waiting since last February for payment for the meat that he sold to the state company after signing a contract.
The entity proposed to pay the debt with the feed used to feed the pigs, but the farmer learned that the type of feed with which they proposed to pay him had been in deficit for more than a month.