Indian cheese in Russian markets soon; decision to sign dairy protocol

The long-pending decision on exporting Indian dairy products to Russia, though resulting in huge losses in the form of missed opportunities, has finally come through. With this, India will sign the protocol and begin exports by the end of next month. The exports will commence with cheese.

A senior official from the ministry of commerce, informed, “Decision has been taken to sign the protocol in accordance with mutually agreed terms between Russia and India.”

The decision is crucial for the Indian industry as several players are eager to begin exports and cash in on the heavy demand for cheese in the Russian market owing to the strong influence the dairy product has over its cuisine and daily meals.

However, few players do not seem to be happy due to the long delay that led to loss of business. Anup Chatterjee, director, business development, Schreiber Dynamix Dairies, Pune, Maharashtra, said, “We have been listening to this since last 16 months since the official announcement.

The protocol is delayed for over a year and Russia has started importing cheese from Israel to meet their demands. Israel can be a competitor to us due to the prolonged bonding between Israel and Russia. We need to establish clearances soon to cash in on the Russian markets. Even if we compare present Russian market conditions with those 16 months earlier, the prices of the local producers of cheese and other products have gone down. This will definitely affect us.”

He pointed out, “It takes around 45 days for a consignment to reach Russia through waterways. We have already wasted so much time already. We have been speaking to the merchants in Russia. We will start official work once we get the final nod from the government,” adding, “We have been constantly demanding that ours and Parag’s facilities which received clearances last year from Rossel khoznador (a Russian federal service for veterinary and phytosanitary surveillance) should be allowed to resume exports.”

Though echoing Chatterjee’s views, R S Sodhi, MD, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF)-Amul, is optimistic, “Now the market conditions in Russia will not support us much but yes many players can start exporting to increase their export portfolio. There is only one benefit, if the cheese or other dairy products become popular in Russia, it will create demand on a regular basis.”

Expressing his views on the issue, B B Bhandari, general manager, marketing, Warana Sahakari Dudh Utpadak Sangh Ltd, said, “We will be interested to explore the markets of Russia if it is worthy. We export to several other nations, so will be happy to export to Russia too. As of now we have no plans but if Russian market shows good cheese business, we will explore Russian markets too.”

Source : fnbnews

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