Friday, February 12, 2010

Successes: Uruguay Dairy

IPS reports: Uruguay "cruderos" sell fresh, unprocessed milk ("leche crudo" --> "crudero") at the city limits. The problem is they are far too small to make it worth processing and too far from a processor. The city government of Durazno teamed up with a private milk processor, Nutri'sima, to open a plant closer to the cruderos in 2008. The government provided additional training and some capital equipment to the farmers. The plant then buys their milk, processes it, and sells it on to supermarkets, gaining the dairymen access to more markets, lifting them out of the informal sector, and improving food quality. They hope to get the farmers access to freezers also so they can bring the milk in every other day instead of daily to decreasing transportation costs. If my unreliable Spanish is right, this is the plant in question:

Claudia Jeannette PĂ©rez, president of the association of former "cruderos" from the areas surrounding the city of Durazno, explained that they used to sell raw milk, artisanal cheeses, eggs and vegetables "door to door, in shops and in the local open air markets."

Today, all that has changed.

They no longer live below the poverty line, and there are now proper hygiene conditions on their small farms, which must live up to certain standards in order to sell their milk to the pasteurisation plant.

Furthermore, they now have access to running water - essential to maintaining production levels and standards - and many also have electricity.

And while they continue to live in the impoverished outskirts of cities and towns, "now we feel respected; we feel like we are part of society," said another small dairy farmer.
The one thing the article doesn't mention is how the poor on the outskirts of the city are getting their milk now that the cruderos aren't riding through every morning to sell cheaper milk.

Hat tip: Poverty News

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