This is going to be a little complicated, but bare with me and let me attempt to explain my thoughts on this article from Poverty News Blog, which quotes this source article, URUGUAY: Pulling Small Dairy Farmers Out of Poverty. Let me get a few quotes to give you an idea of where I’m starting.
Pérez has just 10 dairy cows, which produce a few dozen litres of milk a day, bringing in a small income when she sells it on the outskirts of the city of Durazno, located 183 km north of the capital, Montevideo. She lives on her small farm or “chacra” with her husband and two children, who are in primary school.
Her family’s way of life is shared by just over 200 other small-scale dairy farmers in the departments (provinces) of Durazno, Florida and Flores in Uruguay’s central region, most of whom have no more than two hectares of land…
…”We just scrape by,” he (Oscar Moyá another “crudero”) says, “but at least we can survive on what we earn.”
…The milk sold by the “cruderos”, above and beyond any possible nutritional properties, is cheaper, at 23 cents a litre compared to 30.4 cents a litre for pasteurised milk.
Subsistence dairy farming dates back centuries in Uruguay, the country with the highest number of cattle per capita in the world: 3.8. There are approximately 10 million cattle and more than 15 million sheep in this country, which has a total population of 3.3 million, 93 percent of which is urban.
But now, the business sector and government institutions have come together to provide solutions aimed at drawing small-scale dairy farmers into the economy of scale.
In Uruguay, where the economy is driven by agriculture, tourism and banking, beef and wool are leading exports. But until it began to transition into a prosperous export industry 15 years ago, the dairy sector focused on supplying the domestic market.
That newfound prosperity, however, has not trickled down to rural families who continue to eke out a living on their small dairy farms.
Two years ago, Mauber Olveira, director of development in the Durazno city government, and former mayor Carmelo Vidalín were the driving forces behind one of the alliances to integrate the “cruderos” into the modern milk processing industry.
The formula, Olveira told IPS, was to get Nutrísima, a Uruguayan dairy company, to build a plant in the city of Durazno, which has a population of 35,000 and is the capital of the department of the same name.
The plant buys raw milk from local farmers, pasteurises it and sells it to supermarkets and other buyers.
The project included financial aid agreements to enable dairy farmers to purchase equipment and livestock to boost production.
This will be multi-part post as I’m going to attempt to point out the different economic focus, that is local, national, and international, and who benefits from each one. I will be making the case that Uruguay is already a wealthy nation according to agrarian standards. Look at the quote above. They have the highest number of per capital cattle of any country in the world! I will further be pointing out the control they are loosing both from the Cruderos (Dairy Farmer) standpoint and at the national level by taking the money from the wealthy lender nations who are providing the capital. I’ll give you those quotes in the next post. For now check out the article and let me know what you think; is this a good thing or a bad thing?