Whey is the main subproduct from cheese production. Discharged by SMEs as an industrial effluent without previous treatment causes a relevant impact in water bodies. Its high water usage makes transport, concentration, drying and fractioning very expensive in small scale and have been neither feasible nor profitable. The project offers technologically sound, economically feasible and environmentally sustainable tool for SMEs to process whey to a nutritious product and develop its trade chain.

Implemented in

  • Latin America / Caribbean
  • Argentina

Sectors of activity
Agricultural and Fishery, Water, Scientific Research, Development and Innovation

Type of initiative
Capacity Building & Implementation, Education & Awareness Raising

Type of lead actor
Government / public sector

20000 US$

Start date

End date


Overall Objective:
Strenghthen the dairy SMEs, providing tools for a better environmental management and fostering partnership with high focus in the whey valorization, and to increase food diversity and availabity through better nutritious offer and improving the environmental perfomance.
Specific Objectives:
1. Provide tools to improve the dairy SMEs environmental perfomance and management through the efficient use of resources, loss control techniques and waste management practices.
2. Identify appropriate technologies for the valorization of whey for pharmaceutical, food and agricultural purposes applicable to SMEs.
3. Provide tools to improve the Environment of areas currently impacted by the improper disposal of whey.
4. Promote partnership practices that enable to reach a minimun scale to ensure feasibility for recovery activities (clusters), specially for the very small or isolated facilities.
5. Increase coordination and efectiveness between national and local authorities (Dairy Industry Round Table) creating sinergy to issue integrated and harmonized regulation and permitting frameworks, such as a specific regulatory instrument for whey.
6. Promote strategic alliances that contribute to the consumption and commercialization of products derived from whey, specially the low cost and high nutritions ones, targeted for vulnerable population.


Assessment on Environmental Externalities of the Dairy Industry, including environmental impact due to improper practices, with special focus on whey management key factors (technology suppliers, benchmark, patents, research groups activities, market scenarios, product biases, i.e.).
Review and identification of technologies and practices for whey recovery and valorization.
Cluster and Dairy Sustainable Management Roundtable (DSMR) creation.
Dairy Sustainable Production Guidelines for capacity building.
Training Program on dairy Sustainable Production and recovery and valorization technologies.
Communication’s tools to spread the high biological value of the whey by products suitable for human consumption.

Impact and Results

The Project focus on the small actors of the dairy industry (SMEs), which due to scale and capacity issues, not only fail to obtain protein concentrates from the whey traded as nutritional supplements, but also dispose the whey in an improper way.
An outstanding benefit of this Project is to promote the coordination and agreement between the key stakeholders (government authorities, scientific and academic institutions and dairy chambers) in the whey production and trade chain.
Sustainable and efficient attitude for each of the Project beneficiaries groups:
I. Dairy Producers and related value chain actors:
a) Adoption of a sustainable approach in the dairy production industry, internalizing environmental impacts while increasing efficiency through a waste recovery and minimization;
b) Develop the culture of partnership and collaboration in order to remove barriers of scale and isolation for achieving solutions environmentally sound and economically feasible.
II. Environment and population directly or indirectly affected by the current poor practices of the dairy industry: Develop awareness and improvement of general sanitary conditions.
III: Consumers and other related stakeholders:
a) Increase knowledge on the protein qualities of the whey by products for human consumption;
b) Access to knowledge about balanced, nutritious and health diets habits.

Next steps and how to get involved

The Project is based on inter-governmental coordination, as it will be developed in partnership between the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development and the Ministry of Agro Industry, within the framework of the National Plan for the Sustainable Management of the Dairy Industry.
Food system stakeholders are both key actors and target group, increasing private sector collaboration for food sustainable production. One of its outputs is the creation of the National Dairy Industry Management Round Table, which will ensure institutionalism and sustainability.