The Indian dairy industry can heave a huge sigh of relief. After holding off for several months now Russia finally signed the export protocol which will finally allow the import of dairy products from India.
Russia is an extremely lucrative market for India as it has currently banned the import of food items from several western countries including the European Union. India has naturally been wanted to make inroads into Russia’s food and agricultural items market inclusive of dairy products which is valued around $40 million.
“The Russian agency for ensuring food quality and safety, FSVPS, has now signed the protocol and will upload on its website the names of the dairies that meet the strict conditions laid down by it to qualify for exports,” a government official told. It is well-known fact that Russia’s Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (FSVPS) has stringent guidelines in place for dairy imports. So it gaining approval is naturally a tough task.
As of now, only a few dairy plants may meet the norms laid down. The Indian dairy industry though believes this is just a prelude. The industry believes that Russia will soon start allowing imports from numerous other companies as soon they realise that Indian products are of premium quality.
“We are ready to meet all conditions laid down by the Russians. We just want them to give us an opportunity to begin exporting. Once they realise that our items, such as hard cheese, are of premium quality, they would hopefully be open to exports from more companies,” said Devendra Shah, Chairman & Managing Director, Parag Milk Foods.
Russia’s FSVPS approved only Parag Milk Foods and Schreiber Dynamix Diaries in April last year when the nation was adamant that dairies should have their own captive cattle form with a minimum of 1,000 cattle to qualify for exports.
Russia decided to drop the captive cattle farm clause from the export protocol after India refused to agree with such a requirement. This is as a majority of dairy companies do not have captive farms. Not even Amul, which is easily India’s largest dairy co-operative.
The dairy plants approved by Russia, however, will have to collect milk from farmers and not from collection centres. This is mandatory.
“The Export Inspection Council has given a detailed brief to FSVPS on the veterinary inspection process followed by dairies in the country to ensure that cows are disease-free. On the basis of this information and the field inspection it carried out in the country, the Indian dairies would be selected,” the official said.