Cuba has resumed imports of U.S. poultry after initiating a ban that stretched through August and September. The initial trade ban was implemented over concerns about the possible spread of avian influenza, despite the fact that the virus primarily affected layer and turkey flocks and impacted few broiler chickens.
According to a Reuters report, traders confirmed that Cuba has purchased at least 30 million pounds of U.S. chicken, which will be delivered in October.
U.S. chicken exports to Cuba totaled $147.5 million in 2014. Chicken accounts for close to half of the agricultural exports from the U.S. to Cuba, although exports to Cuba are down in 2015.
The end to the ban comes after the U.S. has gone nearly four months without a new confirmed case of avian influenza. The last case confirmed by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) involved a layer flock of 1 million chickens in Wright County, Iowa.
With improved governmental relations between the U.S. and Cuba and increased demand for poultry products there, Cuba has been eyed as a major growth area for U.S. chicken exports. Its proximity to the U.S. also plays a factor. Cuba is about 550 miles south of Georgia, the largest producer of broiler chickens in the United States.