The Grupo Empresarial Agrícola (GAG), belonging to the Cuban Ministry of Agriculture (Minag), has bet on habanero chili, a product that has a stable demand in the international market and that presents good profitability, and ventured into its export.
Juan Carlos Anzardo Avila, GAG's head of vegetables and protected crops, stated at a press conference, “demand for this hot pepper peaks between the end of November and April, especially in Canadian and European markets. In the latter, sales decrease in summer, as they harvest their own chilies.”
A new collaboration project between research institutes and the University of Havana has analyzed how much capsaicin this fruit has, the component that gives it its characteristic spicy flavor, which allows evaluating and agreeing on prices.
This crop's productive potential ranges between 30 and 40 tons per hectare and the price of habanero peppers per ton ranges between 2,300 and 2,900 dollars, he stated. "The profitability of chili pepper is remarkable. Coal, for example, is a product that has an arduous production process and it is sold at 300 or 400 dollars per ton. In addition, the demand for coal and the availability of ships to transport it is in decline,” he stated. Peppers are marketed fresh, so they must be transported by plane, a means of transportation that has been limited during the pandemic due to flight restrictions, he said.
The manager recalled that, as of October last year, the exporting companies obtain 80% of the sale result, which has been an incentive for them to increase volumes.
He also said that exports were also taxed on the development and availability of food in the country, as nearly 70% of what is sown for export remains in Cuban territory.