Colombia is the eighth largest market for U.S. grains. Its livestock industry, especially the growing dairy sector depends on U.S. feed.
According to Jaime Cuellar, U.S. Grains Council consultant in Colombia, the country's dairy industry uses approximately 11% of the 3.5 million metric tons of corn it imports.
"Milk consumption in Colombia has been increasing due to a consistent supply coming from two milk producing regions in the country – the highland dairies of the Andean area and those from the tropical part of the country," Cuellar said. "The result is an average per capita consumption of 150 liters."
The U.S. Grains Council has worked with Colanta, Colombia's leading dairy cooperative, for 15 years, resulting in 4.5 million tons of imported corn.
"Due to active Council involvement in this country, Colombia has become a steady importer of U.S. grains," Cuellar said. "Continued relationships with key parties such as Colanta have made this possible."
Earlier this month the Council participated in Colanta's Biannual International Seminar on Competitiveness in Milk and Beef Production. USGC Consultant Dr. Alvaro Garcia, associate professor and extension dairy specialist at South Dakota State University, presented about understanding milk quality data contributing to improved feed formulation at the seminar.
"The United States already supplies feed to Colombia's swine and poultry sectors," Cuellar said. "But it is also well positioned to continue serving Colombia's dairy sector as it grows. USGC has been involved with Colombia's dairy sector for several years now, but the industry is now expanding and because of the long-term relationship between the Council with parties such as Colanta, U.S. grains are being imported to supply this emerging sector."