Dairy farmers hit by milk substitute  imports

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DAIRY FARMERS in Panama are being  hard hit by the importation  of milk substitutes

Nestlé Panama will stop buying grade C milk produced in four routes in Veraguas used for the production of evaporated milk.

The reduction in the purchase puts 5,500 producers in the country at risk.

A liter of grade C milk, which is also used to produce condensed milk and powder, as well as processed cheese, means a payment to the producer of 38 cents per liter, reports a Prensa.

The multinational reported that “the importation of milk substitutes by third parties has caused a  reduction in the consumption of certain lines of our dairy products.”

“The substitute  is being marketed as evaporated milk, when in fact it is a flavored drink with flavor and

color that simulates milk,” said Euclides Diaz, executive secretary of the National Association of Cattlemen.

The product that is imported includes among its ingredients semi­skimmed milk, a mixture with soy

lecithin, flavorings and dyes that make the cost of production lower.

In 2016 76.6 million liters of C grade milk were produced in the country. Nestlé was the largest consumer, buying 31.2 million liters.

In Panama, about 340 million liters of milk are consumed each  year. Chiriqui, Los Santos and  Herrera are the provinces that lead production.

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