(Special envoy to Cañete).
The times of lean cows plague the national dairy farming and, more than a biblical and apocalyptic expression, it summarizes the crisis that the sector has been going through for more than a year.
The Cañete Valley basin has been one of the collection centers for companies such as Gloria and Nestlé for more than two decades. The Regional Directorate of Agriculture estimates that the province is home to more than 3,000 dairy farmers and a daily production of 320,000 liters.
The voice of bankruptcy
“Half a year ago I had 40 cows, little by little they left, the companies did not want to pay more for the milk even though the inputs went up, the collectors, on the contrary, lowered the price for us. They abandoned us ranchers. Thus, it was no longer reasonable to survive. I had to get rid of them and look for a different way of life”, this is how Walter Chávez Yauri, cattle producer from the San Fernando Annex, introduces himself in Canete.
Walter, 54 years old, narrates that he lives his days between “lack of productivity and luck” for six months since he sold his last cow. His recent work was filling a ditch and he only received S/ 50, a figure far from the S/ 2,500 he earned a week from the sale of 2,100 liters of milk, a business he entered 10 years ago. after building his 500-square-meter barn inside his home. In 2020, the pandemic arrived, but it did not prevent him from supplying the market. The hecatomb hit him in January 2021, the price of feeding each cow rose from S/ 35 to S/ 50, the S/ 1,400 assigned for seven days would now be S/ 2,000. The price of milk was located at S/ 1.20 per liter. Despair washed over him.
“Everything was going up and I was getting more and more indebted for food,” says Walter despondently, pointing to an old cart covered with dry husks. The bartenders stalked him and tempted by necessity he had no choice but to sell his cowswhich became an easy way out and a vicious circle that ended it completely in August of last year.
To the sad fate
The stable of Rufino Ccora and Delfina Vilcamisa is headed for the same fate, and that is that the enclosure that was born in 2013 had more than 45 cows, today there are only 23 left, after continuous sales to cover expenses.
Ccora, 74, entered the business encouraged by his wife, left masonry and set out on his own with five cows.
His routine starts at five in the morning, he is joined by his spouse and his worker. The couple is in charge of cleaning the pens and feeding the cattle; while the assistant puts into action the two milking machines to extract milk from Lola, Cariño, Kelly, Nelly and others.
“I charge S/ 2,000 a week for the milk I sell, but my debt is S/ 3,000; That is not enough to cover production, so I have to sell one or two cows; That’s how I’m finishing them, ”explains Rufino about the monetary deficit of the business, while he fills a wheelbarrow with minced challa that the Nazira cow will eat.
Both Chávez and Ccora have not agreed to a bank loan either because of the “high risk” or because “they never needed it.”
The debts contracted are with the farmers, since the husk consumed by the cows doubled its price per ton from S/ 110 to S/ 220, as a result of the 51% rise in fertilizer prices. 20 or 25 cows eat 10 tons in seven days. The 50 kilo sack of concentrate rose from S/ 40 to S/ 90 and lasts one day.
“The worst thing is that they don’t pay you what is fair, they want to give you only S/ 1,400 or less for the cow,” Rufino comments indignantly about the offer he receives from cattle buyers.
The man is hoping for a loan of S / 20,000 that he has requested from Agrobankbut admits that “it will not be possible”.
“I may have to sell another cow this or next week. I don’t know what we’re going to do”, says Rufino, who poses for the photo with Meche, the ruminant who looks sideways at the camera, perhaps already suspecting that her breeder has chosen her for her sad end in the slaughterhouse, despite the fact that the sacrifice will only calm the agony of the business in the short term.
This is the panorama of the dairy sector
Dairy farmers in Cañete have also had to deal with the continuous evaluations of their production by the industry. In January, Nestlé assured that the milk did not present the optimal quality and safety to be considered for storage.
Production prices have grown by 70%, Cañete farmers and throughout Peru agree that the cost per liter of fresh milk should be between S/ 1.80 and S/ 2.00.
Producers also ask for sales contracts.
On March 15, the Association of Dairy Farmers of Peru (Agalep) announces a national strike in search of concrete measures from the Government.
On the rise The production of 20 dairy cows has an approximate cost of S/ 3,400 per week distributed in food, herbs, water and electricity.
Fair enough. A cow costs more than S/ 3,000 in the market.
Kingston is an accomplished author and journalist, known for his in-depth and engaging writing on sports. He currently works as a writer at 247 News Agency, where he has established himself as a respected voice in the sports industry.