Officials in Georgia have hopes of increasing the amount of poultry exported from the state to Cuba.
According to a report in the Times Enterprise, Cuba bought about $8 million worth of Georgia poultry products in 2014, which was down about 40 percent when compared to 2013. However, with improved relations between Cuba and the United States initiated by U.S. President Barack Obama in December, and a strong demand for poultry in Cuba, officials consider it feasible to ship more Georgia poultry to the communist country about 550 miles to the south.
“They can’t raise enough yard birds – enough chickens – to feed their own people,” Charles Shapiro, president of the World Affairs Council of Atlanta, said during a recent legislative committee hearing. “Bam! That’s an opportunity.”
Mike Giles, president of the Georgia Poultry Association (GPA) said that poultry producers have for a long time wanted to have a normal trading relationship with Cuba, and that the federation views Cuba as a market with potential to grow.
According to the GPA, Georgia has been the largest broiler chicken producing state since it surpassed Arkansas in production in 1997. Alabama ranks second, while Arkansas ranks third. Poultry is also the largest segment of Georgia agriculture, followed by crops.