The dairy sector in Nicaragua
Nicaragua has a great potential as a producer and exporter of milk given the weather conditions and the circumstances of the country that can help the development of the sector.
Among the Central American countries, in terms of milk production, Costa Rica has 31% of the region’s production, followed by Honduras with 18%, Nicaragua with 16%, El Salvador 15%, Guatemala 14% and Panama 6 %.
In Nicaragua, a total of 1.2 million cows are milked daily. Total production for 2021 was 389.6 million gallons, representing a growth of 2.2% compared to 2020. Of this dairy production, 61% is sold as fluid milk, 36% is used for the production of products derived from milk and 3% is consumed on farms.
Nicaragua has a great potential as a producer and exporter of milk given the weather conditions and the circumstances of the country that can help the development of the sector. It has more than 140 thousand small producers and is the main exporter of milk and dairy products in the region.
The country’s livestock is estimated to produce up to $5.5 million liters of milk per day, but only 40% comes from the formal market, represented by 39 production companies.
During the second trimester of 2021, Nicaragua continues to be the leading exporter of milk and dairy products in Central America, with $97 million, followed by Costa Rica ($58.7 million), El Salvador ($26.8 million) and Honduras (15 .2$ million). Compared to the same period in 2020, in the second trimester of 2021 the market of milk and dairy products registered a 10.47% increase in Central American countries, going up from $182.8 million to $202 million.
Regarding the volume sold, an increase of 88.1% was reported for the same periods, from 90,957 tons in 2020 increasing to 171,090 tons in 2021.
For 2022, a 3% growth in milk production is estimated, with 401.4 million gallons and export revenues of $231 million are expected.
Challenges of the Nicaraguan dairy industry
Currently, more than 65% of Nicaraguan exports go to El Salvador and cheese is the product with the highest demand. In 2021, the value of exports to El Salvador was $166 million.
The rise in prices of inputs and raw materials has led to a higher price for dairy products. Lately, the increase in the price of cheese has made it a luxury for Nicaraguans to buy it.
The Nicaraguan Chamber of the Dairy Sector (CANISLAC) is making efforts to encourage exports of more products and expand the market to other Latin American countries, Canada and the United States. For this reason, is intended to ensure that safety and quality comply with the highest international standards.
Other factors that influenced the price increase were the shortage of milk in the dry season and the controls and phytosanitary regulations that have been tightened for exports.
Cattle feeding, key to obtaining quality milk
Livestock feeding is key to animal welfare and the production of quality milk. The type of forage, nutritional supplements and rations have to be taken into account for high productivity on farms. The bovine diet must include protein, energy, minerals and water every day.
Milk is a fundamental nutritious food for human consumption, which needs to preserve its nutritional properties and not be contaminated by microorganisms that can alter its quality and damage health.
Milk quality includes nutritional quality, chemical and organoleptic composition, and sanitary quality.
How to prevent contamination with aflatoxins
In dairy production, aflatoxin is the mycotoxin of greatest concern, since type B aflatoxins cause liver damage, and its metabolite, aflatoxin M1, is excreted in milk, being a risk to human health, and depreciating the value of milk, needing to be controlled for food safety aspects.
For this reason, the use of additives is recommended, such as Alquerfeed Antitox, a product developed and marketed by Biovet S.A. The 100% natural additive, thanks to the effectiveness of the patented molecule, Silicoglycidol, can adsorb all kinds of mycotoxins, while it does not adsorb vitamins or amino acids. In addition, its effective dose is very low (0.5kg/t or 14g/cow/day), which has a great positive economic impact for producers.
The latest tests carried out with Alquerfeed Antitox have shown its effectiveness in different species of dairy ruminants in reducing the excretion of Aflatoxin M1 in milk, thanks to a high efficiency of Aflatoxin B1 bind in the rumen and intestine.