Faced with a large shortage of dairy items after the European Union’s decision not to export to it, Russia is expected to open the doors to Indian imports. A team of Russia’s phytosanitary watchdog, Rosselkhoznadzor, had visited India between October 27 and November 8 and inspected dairy plants (including those making cheese) interested in exporting their products to Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
The delegation inspected facilities that supply corresponding raw materials and other organisations involved in the production and control of the corresponding regulated goods produced at the inspected plants.
“We are still awaiting reports from the Russian authority (Rosselkhoznadzor) for the inspection carried out on Indian plants in November. They were very positive towards India,” said Santosh Sarangi, chairman of Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (Apeda).
Indian producers indirectly export milk products to Russia through various European countries. That route is closing now as EU nations are now not exporting to Russia due to sanctions imposed by the Western world.
Russia has imposed a one-year ban targeting all meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables from the European Union, the United States, Canada, Norway and Australia, in retaliation at western economic sanctions over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis.
Data compiled by the European Commission show European Union dairy exports to Russia were worth 2.3 billion euros ($3 billion) in 2013. Cheese accounted for almost half. “This offers a huge opportunity for Indian dairy exporters. If opened, India can get a huge benefit of the supply shortage faced by Russia,” said Ajay Sahai, Director General of the Federation of Indian Export Organisation (FIEO).
Meanwhile, the EU has offered huge incentives to compensate the losses suffered due to the ban on dairy imports from Russia. The European Commission has announced that it will open private storage aid for butter, skimmed milk powder (SMP) and certain types of cheese in order to alleviate the impact of Russian restrictions on imports of EU dairy products and to limit the negative effects on the internal market.