Milk production in Ecuador
In Ecuador, approximately 6.15 million liters of raw milk are produced daily, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC) (2020 data). Dairy farming represents a source of income for nearly 1.2 million people...
Milk is a food product of great nutritional value, containing vitamins (A, B12, D) and minerals (phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, selenium, iodine, zinc) and is very necessary for human nutrition.
The dairy sector’s main activity is the production of milk and its derivatives (cheese, yogurt, butter etc.).
In Ecuador, approximately 6.15 million liters of raw milk are produced daily, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses (INEC) (2020 data). Dairy farming represents a source of income for nearly 1.2 million people.
The dairy industry represents around 4% of the country’s Agrifood GDP, having a great economic impact and a high export potential.
According to data from the Internal Revenue Service, in September 2021 the dairy sector grew by 10.92%, compared to the same month in 2020.
The Ecuadorian dairy industry, a growing sector
Milk consumption in Ecuador is 110 liters per inhabitant each year, which still represents a small amount compared to a recommended consumption of 180 liters per person per year.
According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), the country’s dairy industry generates approximately 1,400 million USD per year for the production and industrialization of milk and the official cost of a liter of milk to the producer is 0.42 USD.
From the total population of 4.1 million cattle, dairy farming represents 57% and is developed more in the valleys of the Andean alley, while meat farming represents 43% and is carried out mainly in subtropical and tropical areas of the Coast and Amazon. Regarding milk production, the highest concentration is produced in the Sierra, 73% of milk, in the Coast 19% and in the Amazon 8%. In the Sierra, in the highlands, there are not many planting options, therefore milk is the only stable selling product for the farmers.
Among the 299,000 Ecuadorian milk producers, 80% are small, family farms and only 20% medium and large farms. Barely 4% of the producers are technified and report high productivity.
In order to meet quality standards, farmers need to make investments to improve the cow feed and the technologies for product preservation.
Milk quality and factors that can influence it
There are many factors that can affect the quality of milk. Bacteria that can affect food safety have been reduced by pasteurization and ultra-pasteurization heat treatments.
However, the mycotoxins that can be found in the raw material used in feed, they can cause acute or chronic poisoning in animals and can be transmitted to humans through milk or meat.
The term mycotoxin comes from the Greek words mikes and toxin, which mean fungus and poison, respectively. They are toxic substances produced by fungi, which affect animal welfare and can affect human health.
In Ecuador, the very humid tropical climate, in the coastal and Amazonian areas, favors the appearance of mycotoxins in cereals. To avoid and prevent the proliferation of mycotoxins in raw materials and feed, the use of mycotoxin binders is recommended. In this sense, Alquerfeed Antitox, a mycotoxin binder developed and marketed by Biovet SA, is based on the patented molecule Silicoglycidol, an active molecule with a high mycotoxin binding capacity and a broad spectrum of action, effective at low doses (0.5 kg /t).
Field tests carried out with the mycotoxin binder from Biovet S.A. have demonstrated its efficacy in different ruminant species in the reduction of Aflatoxin M1 during the lactation period.