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The advancement of investor-owned firms (IOF), mainly multinational ones, and the reduced participation of cooperatives in dairy production and processing in Brazil along the past few decades has been calling the attention of researchers. With the participation of 59 productive units, distributed over 9 states of the Brazilian territory, the objective of this work was to analyze the efficiency of the cooperatives in the dairy industry using the Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA). The results show that, in general, the cooperatives presented better performance in terms of scale rather than in terms of productive efficiency. This stimulates sectorial politicies that promote improvements in the use of the resources to obtain greater efficiency in milk processing.


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