LPCS: milk processors have successfully replaced Russia with other markets
Latvian milk processing companies have successfully recovered from Russia’s embargo, and have found other export markets, says Central Union of Latvian Dairy Farmers chairman Janis Solks.
«Even now many media outlets, including foreign ones associated with the former USSR system, are trying to provoke us by saying that we are still having problems because of the Russian embargo. Numbers, on the other hand, are showing a different picture,» says Sols, adding that even though the Russian market provided a significant boost in the past, it was not the ‘gold mine’ everyone says it was.
«In 2013, the value of dairy products’ exports to Russia was EUR 31 million. By July 2014, before the establishment of sanctions, Russia’s export value had reached EUR 34 million. At the time, exports to Russia had a growing perspective. The bulk of accomplishment rested with Food Union. There was also culmination in other countries in 2014 (EUR 106 million), because prices were high. The embargo cut them short. In 2016, however, when prices were not as high as now, we reached the same EUR 106 million without Russia. This means we have successfully reached the previous level money-wise,» added LPCS manager.
He also says 12 thousand tons of products were exported to Russia in 2014 before the establishment of the embargo. This amount formed nearly 15% of the total export market – 83 thousand tonnes. Only one thousand tonnes of products were exported to Russia last year, whereas the volume of products exported to other countries was 95 thousand tonnes.
«I would like to emphasize that last year we had exceeded the export volume accomplished in 2014. Of course, there have been major price fluctuations. This is why this volume increase is not reflected in monetary expression. The increase of the volume means we have found new markets,» Solks said. Ice cream and Kārumssnacks are still exported to Russia. «According to them, ice cream is not even a dairy product. But Latvian producers make it using milk and milk products. In our opinion, it is a product of the dairy industry,» said the chairman of LPCS, adding that last year’s export value to Russia formed EUR 2 million.
He also said that Latvian milk processors have exported products to 93 countries in the past several years. «Following the Russian embargo, 20 new countries have come to us. This includes four to five countries to which we have never exported anything in the past. Export growth has been noted for countries like Bulgaria, Poland, Netherlands and Lithuania. From 2009 to 2016, dairy products were sold in foreign countries for EUR 854 million. Soon the value will reach EUR 1 billion. I would like to add that we continue expanding our presence in countries like Ukraine, Moldova, Serbia and others,» said Solks.