Columbian Dairy Sector Has Appetite for US Grains

COLOMBIA - As the eighth largest market for U.S. grains, Colombia depends on U.S. feed to supply its livestock industry, in particular, its growing dairy sector.
calendar icon 14 November 2008
clock icon 2 minute read

According to Jaime Cuellar, United States Grains Coucil (USGC) consultant in Colombia, the country’s dairy industry uses approximately 11 percent of the 3.5 million metric tons (137.8 million bushels) of corn it imports. “Milk consumption in Colombia has been increasing due to a consistent supply coming from two milk producing regions in the country – the highland dairies of the Andean area and those from the tropical part of the country,” he said. “The result is an average per capita consumption of 150 liters.”

For several years, the U.S. Grains Council has been active in moving U.S. grains to the forefront of Colombia’s import radar. The Council has worked with Colanta, Colombia’s leading dairy cooperative, for 15 years, resulting in 4.5 million tons (177 million bushels) of imported corn. The cooperative collects 2.1 million liters of milk a day, which once pasteurized and processed, supplies households within Colombia and several foreign markets which use its processed products. “Due to active Council involvement in this country, Colombia has become a steady importer of U.S. grains,” Cuellar said.

“Continued relationships with key parties such as Colanta have made this possible.” Last week, the Council continued maintaining its relationships in Colombia by participating in Colanta’s Biannual International Seminar on Competitiveness in Milk and Beef Production, Nov. 4-7 in Medellin, Colombia. USGC Consultant Dr. Alvaro Garcia, associate professor and extension dairy specialist at South Dakota State University, presented at the seminar at Colanta’s request.

Garcia’s main message was how understanding milk quality data can contribute to improved feed formulation, which results in better milk yields and profitability. “The United States already supplies feed to Colombia’s swine and poultry sectors,” Cuellar said, adding how the two industries use 76 percent of all feed ingredient imports into the country. “But it is also well positioned to continue serving Colombia’s dairy sector as it grows. USGC has been involved with Colombia’s dairy sector for several years now, but the industry is now expanding and because of the long-term relationship between the Council with parties such as Colanta, U.S. grains are being imported to supply this emerging sector.”

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