Uruguayan government will buy from family farmers

Convenio compras públicas (Uruguay)

“Today they will be giving work to people who lost their jobs for being small producers, for having no capital”.

 These were the very excited words of a representative of the organizations that this month signed a procurement agreement with the Uruguayan government. And he assured: “we will not disappoint them”.

The idea, he is said, is to trade with people that have three or four hectares, “in an area where there is nothing else to do, and agriculture provides jobs”.

Although the public procurement law that provides that 30% of government’s procurement should be supplied by family farming has not been passed yet, this agreement is a kick-off and marks the beginning of a path, pointed out Fernando Andrade, president of the Uruguayan Pork Breeders’ Association.

The Ministry of the Interior signed four agreements with groups of associated family farmers, whereby they will buy pigs, chickens, noodles and flour, which are to supply the National Rehabilitation Institute.

Andrade has been a family producer of pork for 16 years, and raises his pigs on the farm, where he lives with his family in San Jacinto, Canelones. The family economy depends on eight hectares.

In an interview with IFAD Mercosur, he said that 700 farmers (500 from Canelones and 200 from Lavalleja, Flores and the rural areas of Montevideo) would benefit from the agreement just signed. It is the first government procurement agreement for the association he chairs, and the first of its kind in Uruguay, he added.

Every month, the Uruguayan Breeders Association will deliver 30 piglets, which should weigh between 80 and 90 kilos; each producer will receive 47 pesos per kilo, he stated.

It takes five months to fatten the animal so as to reach that sale price, and feed is the most expensive input. “The idea is to increase the quota”, said Andrade, and he declared that they were planning to buy the feed together and lower down that expense.

Families that used to sell piglets only during the Christmas season will be in a position to sell more and with profitable prices, pointed out the breeder.

The Ministry of the Interior also promised to buy noodles from the Caorsi Cooperative, flour from the Santa Rosa Mills and chicken from a group of organized family farmers.

“Both for us and for those that sell to us it is a major purchase”, stressed the Minister of the Interior, Eduardo Bonomi. And he added: “We are very happy to sign this, to help and be helped”.

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