After two decades trying to access the Chinese milk market, Brazil sent an experimental batch of various types of powdered milk to the Asian country earlier this month.
The milk was traded by Central Cooperativa Gaúcha Ltda (CCGL), which has around 3,500 members, and may represent the reopening of the Chinese market for the Brazilian product, according to news website UOL.
Caio Viana, president of CCGL, said that this first shipment was a small sample, weighing around 40 kilos. Whole milk powder, skimmed, semi-skimmed and zero lactose were sent. The idea is to open paths for real exports, and there are already negotiations for the shipment of two containers for the coming months.
CCGL is one of the groups that obtained authorization to export milk to China, as of 2019. Another 33 Brazilian dairy products also have access, but exports did not occur, according to the National Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA), because China has high quality standards for the product and there was not enough inspection to finalize negotiations between the two countries.
Viana said that in order to be able to send the batch, CCGL needed to comply with bureaucracies and adapt sanitary measures, such as establishing an end-to-end traceability system of the dairy chain (showing 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 has a positive symbolism for the Brazilian milk chain.
Since 2019, the representative bodies of dairy farming (Abraleite and Viva Lácteos), the CNA and the Organization of Cooperatives of Brazil (OCB) have been trying to negotiate Brazilian milk with China.
Last year, according to the China Dairy Association, milk production in the country was 3.9 million tonnes, a volume that supplies 70% of local demand. Last year, Brazil exported 28.9 million tonnes of milk, according to data from the Foreign Trade Secretariat (Secex). The main destinations were Algeria, Venezuela, United States, Argentina and Uruguay.