MONTEVIDEO – President Tabare Vazquez said on Monday that his administration would address the Uruguayan dairy industry’s problems by taking measures, including a 15 percent cut in electricity bills, to assist farmers.
The dairy industry, which has traditionally been “very positive” for economic development, has experienced a crisis over the past three years, Vazquez said.
The president held a Cabinet meeting in Cardal, a town in the south-central province of Florida, and said the administration was considering a series of measures to boost dairy industry productivity and reduce energy bills.
“While the cost of electric energy increased by 7 percent in January, by lowering bills 15 percent now we are providing a real 8 percent in savings to the dairy industry, both to ranchers and processors,” the president said.
The administration will seek a remedy for the heavy debt loads among dairy farmers after only nine of 1,044 producers who enrolled in a refinancing program with Banco Republica (BROU) completed the process, Vazquez said.
“This is a sector that took out loans and fulfilled its obligations. Only between 3 and 5 percent of BROU borrowers have defaulted in their payments,” the president said.
Both seasonal factors and international prices now favor the dairy industry, Vazquez said.