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.

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«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.

Ieva Makare/LETA

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