Brazil has sent an experimental batch of various types of powdered milk to China, marking what may be a major breakthrough for the country’s dairy industry.
The milk was traded by Central Cooperativa Gaúcha Ltda (CCGL), which has around 3,500 members.
CCGL president Caio Viana said that this first shipment was a small sample, weighing around 40 kilos and consisting of whole milk powder, skimmed, semi-skimmed and zero lactose. The idea is to open paths for real exports, and negotiations are already in hand for the shipment of two containers soon.
CCGL obtained authorisation to export milk to China in 2019.
Another 33 Brazilian dairy products also have access, but none have been exported, according to the National Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA), because China imposes high importation standards and there was not enough time to finalise negotiations between the two countries.
Viana said that in order to be able to send the first batch, CCGL needed to comply with various bureaucratic measures and adapt sanitary procedures, such as establishing an end-to-end traceability system of the dairy chain which covered the entire path of the product, from the farm to the processing industry.
Geraldo Borges, president of the Brazilian Association of Milk Producers (Abraleite), explained that although the batch exported to China by CCGL was small and that tax issues still need to be worked on in bilateral agreements, the deal signified distinct benefits for the Brazilian milk chain.
Since 2019, the representative bodies of dairy farming (Abraleite and Viva Lácteos), the CNA and the Organisation of Cooperatives of Brazil have been trying to negotiate the export of Brazilian milk to China.
Last year, according to the China Dairy Association, milk production in the country was 3.9 million tonnes, which supplies 70 per cent of local demand. Last year, Brazil exported 28.9 million tonnes of milk, according to the Foreign Trade Secretariat. The main destinations were Algeria, Venezuela, United States, Argentina and Uruguay, CLBrief reported.