Colombia and Venezuela reached an agreement to restore bilateral agricultural trade allowing the Colombian export of meat, poultry and dairy products to the neighboring country, local media reported Tuesday.
According to El Colombiano, Agriculture Minister Juan Camilo Restrepo Salazar said that the idea is to implement the agreements reached by President Juan Manuel Santos and President Hugo Chavez in Cartagena on April 9.
Restrepo Salazar said, “I want to emphasize the Colombian government is pleased with the restoration of Colombo-Venezuelan trade, in particular hard currency, agriculture and livestock.”
it was agreed that Colombia would sell 6,500 heads of cattle, 40% of which are to be slaughtered in Colombia, in addition to 3,000 live cattle and 3,500 pregnant cows to increase Venezuela’s breeding stock.
The offer was also made to export 60,000 day-old chicks, and 100,000 hatching eggs while the number of table eggs and chicken meat to be exported is still being assessed.
Furthermore the offer to export 100,000 tonnes annually of dairy products in the form of liquid, powdered and evaporated milk, as well as whey, butter, cheese and milk based beverages. Fresh and frozen potatoes and seeds will also be exported.
The manager of Colanta – a dairy products cooperative – Jenaro Perez, Gutierrez said that the deal will allow his company to take evaporated milk to be powdered in a plant owned by the Venezuelan government which has spare capacity. He said “So far, we have not set any fixed figures for possible exports, but we will transport the milk and make the most of the opportunity.”
Jorge Enrique Bedoya, the president of the National Federation of Poultry Farmers (Fenavi), is slightly wary due to the debt owed to Colombia by Venezuela. He said “Since late 2009, the Venezuelan market for poultry has been lost. Since then, they [Venezuelans] owe money to companies and this generates a degree of skepticism. This is welcomed but seeing is believing.”
Colombian exports to Venezuela fell significantly between 2009 and 2010 due to frosty diplomatic relations and trade sanctions restrictions.