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Dairy exports to Russia to get delayed as govt works on draft proposal

Dairy exports to Russia are likely to get delayed further as the Commerce Ministry is yet to approve the export council’s draft protocol.

Dairy exports to Russia
Dairy exports to Russia

Facing Western sanctions, Russia had in January had allowed two India dairy companies – Parag Milk Foods (which produces Gowardhan brand dairy products) and Schreiber Dynamix (producer of Dynamix brand products) – to export to the country. But the companies are still waiting for government approval to start exports.

An official with the Export Inspection Council (EIC), under the Ministry of Commerce, said, “We are not looking at short-term exports. We want Russia to remain a long-term importer of Indian dairy products. So, we are preparing our draft disease-control plan before signing a formal protocol.”

EIC is scheduled to meet the Russian phyto sanitary authority Rossel khoznadzor in September.

“We are waiting for the Ministry (of Commerce) to approve it so that we will ask dairy units to adhere to it. Unless, potential exporters adhere to that norm, we will not allow exporters to ship dairy products from India,” the official added.

Meanwhile, Parag Milk Foods’ chairman, Devendra Shah, has written a letter to the Ministry of Commerce requesting it to sign the protocol as early as possible so that the two companies can start shipments.

“Let’s start with two plants and negotiate liberalization in norms for other plants in the second phase,” said Shah.

But the EIC official said that once exports start with a set of norms, negotiation for liberalization becomes difficult.

“Hence, India is looking at a foolproof start for all potential exporters at one go. Also, we do not want a smooth start now and a disease outbreak followed by a ban later,” he added.

“The minimum number of cattle clause is a non-starter and irrelevant today when the whole world negotiates trade in terms of quality. Once quality is assured, Russia should not have any problem in importing dairy products from India. We would be able start exports immediately after norms are liberalised,” said R S Sodhi, chairman, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd, which produces and markets Amul brand milk and dairy products.

The Russian cheese market in volume is 2.30 lakh metric tonne per annum. Apart from cheese, India can export milk powder and other dairy products too.