Dutch agricultural Exports to Cuba: Stable in value but of a changing composition

The composition of the agricultural exports from The Netherlands to Cuba is volatile, even though the total value remains relatively stable. In 2021, the total agricultural exports to Cuba were almost € 62 million, 3.5% higher than 2020, but still 21% lower than in pre-COVID 2019. Fertilizers made up the most important agricultural export product in 2021, with a value of € 20,5 million, much more than at any time over the last 6 years.

Export to Cuba
Beeld: ©WUR

COVID and avian flu affect dairy and chicken meat exports

The volatility of the composition of the Dutch agricultural exports to Cuba is due to several reasons: The corona pandemic and the resulting collapse of Cuba’s tourism sector has severely affected the Government’s ability to procure and import food, such as dairy products. In 2021, The Netherlands exported only € 4.3 million in dairy products (mostly milk and cream), only 17% of the almost € 25 million that was exported to Cuba six years ago. Avian influenza has also affected Dutch exports to The Netherlands: when the Cuban market opened for Dutch chicken meat in 2020, Dutch poultry exporters exported more than € 20 million of chicken meat to the island. After the export ban, imposed by Cuba, due to the avian influenza outbreaks, these exports came to a halt in 2021.

Rising fertilizer prices

Fertilizer exports were the most important category in agricultural exports from The Netherlands to Cuba, with a total value of € 20.5 million (compared to 0 in 2020 and € 13.4 mln in 2019). The growing export value of fertilizers is undoubtedly also caused by rising fertilizer prices.

Beer and seed potatoes constant factors

Beer and seed potatoes are probably the most consistent agricultural export products over the last years. In 2021 their respective export values were € 16.5 million and € 6.5 million. Interestingly, non-alcoholic beer exports to Cuba are growing, from nothing in 2017 to more than € 3.6 million in 2021.

Beeld: ©WUR


The other way around, Cuba’s agricultural exports to The Netherlands tend to be between €4 and 6 million. In 2021, they amounted to € 5.9 million, less than 10% of the Dutch agricultural exports to Cuba. Cuba’s largest agricultural exports to The Netherlands nowadays is not rum or sugar, but lobster. Lobster exports to The Netherlands have consistently grown from less than € 100.000 in 2016 to over € 3 million in 2021.