The situation of milk producers in the south of the country is complicated. while Alpina was forced to suspend the collection in Cauca due to the violence of indigenous movements and the war between illegal groupsin Nariño Alquería it did so not only because of the violence, but also because of the deficiency in tertiary roads, explains José Félix Lafaurie, executive president of the Colombian Federation of Cattlemen (Fedegán).
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Bearing in mind that both territories are important producing areas in Colombia, the union leader warns that it has unleashed a serious crisis for the country’s dairy farmers.
And it is that in addition to facing structural and security problems, about 35,000 producers in Nariño and 18,000 in Cauca, They must bear the high costs of production.
«If we talk about dairy, not all cows are in order at the same time and with the production of three or four, high costs must be assumed and, furthermore, to live, something difficult when prices fall or milk is not sold,» said the union leader.
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In addition, he also recalled that there is a structural problem in the dairy chain, since the country produces more than 7,000 million liters a year from a mostly smallholder dairy. He explains that the formal industry collects half and the rest is placed in the informal sector.
For all of the above, Lafaurie proposes a series of strategies that would help mitigate the crisis and would seek to attack the structural problems that plague this sector.
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Among these, is the control of the prices of inputsit will find ways to reduce the cost of collection and even implement a subsidy for low-cost products. This with the aim of relieving the pocket of dairy farmers in their production process.
To comply with this, he explains that it is necessary to incorporate milk into the School Feeding Program (PAE) and public food purchases. This, added to the alliances with strategic partners and operators, would reduce the costs of collection and supplies, since large quantities could be purchased by wholesale.
Another aspect that Lafaurie contemplates is to improve the business conditions of the producersFor this reason, he proposes to review the free trade agreement with the United States and the European Union, since he considers that there is a great opportunity for the sector to carry out its products in these markets.
JUAN DAVID CANO LOPERA
School of Multimedia Journalism EL TIEMPO
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