Brazil: Minas Gerais Cooperative begins selling dairy products to China

23 January 2008

Belo Horizonte, Brazil, 23 Jan – The Central Cooperative of Rural producers of Minas Gerais, which produces the Itambé brand of products, in February is due to start exporting powdered milk to China, the company said Wednesday.

The deal followed a visit by a Chinese business mission organized by Sebrae (Brazilian Service for Support to Small and Micro Companies) in October and November 2007.

As well as the Central Cooperative of Rural Producers of Minas Gerais, the mission was also attended by the Regional Coffee-growers Cooperative of São Sebastião do Paraíso (Cooparaíso) and the Cerrado Coffee-growers Cooperative (Expocaccer).

From the meat and juices sectors the companies Pif Paf/Tial and Saudale took part, as well as dairy company Tirolêz, as well as the National Apiculture (Beekeeping) Cooperative (Conap) and the Regional Cooperative of Family Agriculture (Cooperafa).

“The powdered milk will be used as a raw material for several Chinese food industries,” the Itambé export manager, André Massote said.

“The price in China is not high and consumption is increasing. We still have no forecasts of what this could mean, but China is a big and new market,” he added.

Although China is the world’s fourth largest producer of milk, per capita consumption is still low, at just 5 liters per year, whilst in Brazil per capita consumption totals 130 liters per year.

The Central Cooperative of Rural producers of Minas Gerais already exports to 65 countries and the mission was its first contact with Chinese companies.

In Sebrae’s opinion, “China could become one of the mains markets for Brazilian dairy products.”

Export of Brazilian farming products to China totaled US$3.8 billion in 2006, which is an increase of 22.2 percent against 2005, according to official figures. (macauhub)