Cuba's Corn Market
Cuban imports of corn have fallen dramatically over the past decade as the Cuban livestock sector has contracted along with Cuba’s overall economic decline. Significant growth in meat consumption and in the livestock sector will be necessary before Cuba will resume substantial corn imports.
Production and Consumption
Corn production in Cuba is minuscule and does not play a relevant role in its livestock industry. With the loss of Soviet financial assistance, livestock production fell significantly in the early 1990's. Privatization efforts and the adaptability of swine to local feedstuffs have helped the sector to rebound in recent years. The poultry sector, however, has not recovered from its fall: broiler production has dropped from roughly100,000 tons in 1989 to about 60,000 tons. Since most compound feed (70 percent) goes to poultry rations, feed production has fallen precipitously.
During the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, Cuba imported substantial amounts of corn, with the aid of Soviet financial assistance, for its livestock sector. For example, in marketing year 1989/90, Cuba imported 716,000 tons of corn. As feed production has dropped, corn imports have been practically wiped out, averaging only 50,000 tons annually over the last 3 years and are forecast to remain at that low level this year.
ALIMPORT is the Cuban state enterprise responsible for the importation of most commodities, including corn. Logistically, the port cities of Havana, Cienfuegos, Santiago, and Antilla each can handle shipments of about 30,000 tons.
There are approximately 20 feed compound plants in Cuba, with an estimated total production capacity of 2 million tons. There are also several livestock entities, such as the Swine Research Center, Poultry Production Institute, and Poultry Research Institute, dedicated to improving the livestock sector. This infrastructure should enable Cuba to more effectively and efficiently increase livestock production as economic conditions improve.
Until Cuba’s overall economy improves, meat consumption will likely remain low, and demand for feed grains, such as corn, will be minimal. As consumption of livestock products increases, it may be more efficient to import some products–notably poultry–which would also constrain corn imports.
Exports and the U.S. Law
Since the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act was signed into law in 2000, U.S. exporters have been allowed to sell agricultural commodities to Cuba. However, the changes in U.S. trade restrictions with Cuba were not comprehensive. Exporters should check with USDA, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control for the most up-to-date regulations and requirements for trade with Cuba.
For information regarding this fact sheet, please contact Cynthia Iglesias at (202) 690-4134 or via e-mail at email@example.com
For more information on trade with Cuba, see the Frequently Asked Questions: Trade With Cuba at http://www.fas.usda.gov/itp/cuba/cuba.html on the FAS website.