26 Nov 2019 14:41

Russia has decreased dependence on milk imports by third in last 6 years - agriculture minister

KRASNOYARSK. Nov 26 (Interfax) - Russia has decreased its dependence on milk imports by over 30% in the last six years, Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev said at the International Milk Forum in Krasnoyarsk on Tuesday.

Last year, milk imports fell 7.2%, to 6.5 million tonnes, meaning that the "share of domestic production in the Russian milk market is growing steadily," Patrushev said.

"We're obliged to work on decreasing import dependence in the milk industry. Today the situation is right for that. Milk production is growing steadily in Russia; in 2018, it totaled 30.6 million tonnes. We're also expecting growth for 2019 as a whole. Much of the credit for the increases in these figures goes to small and medium-sized agribusiness," he said.

Commenting on the inclusion of milk products in the Mercury electronic veterinary certification system, Patrushev said, "Today it's already obvious that the system allows us to decrease administrative barriers for businesses when they're completing accompanying veterinary documents. Additionally, it significantly increases the safety of dairy products."

"We've gotten through this year without sharp fluctuations in milk prices. In 2019, the entire set of measures we've undertaken and, among other things, the Mercury system allowed us to avoid spikes," he said.

The dairy industry is appealing to investors and has good export potential, according to Patrushev. This year, agricultural exports are expected to total $24 billion, including more than $1.1 billion in dairy products, he said.

EAEU countries are still the primary consumers of Russian dairy products, accounting for about 60%. "In addition, last year, the markets of Laos and Cambodia were opened up for deliveries of Russian milk and dairy products. The opening of the promising Chinese market in 2018 was a big success. Today 34 dairy companies have the right to deliver products to China, and 49 are selling ice cream to China. This year, Russian dairy products got access to Tunisia and Turkey. These are also areas of the utmost importance," Patrushev said.