Belarus’ experience in dairy farming is great and is worth to learn from, Chairman of the National Union of Milk Producers Soyuzmoloko (Russia) Andrei Danilenko said.
“There is no denying that Belarus has a number of objective advantages that enable its farmers to manufacture highly-competitive products in terms of prices. Firstly, Belarus has long been an agricultural region with well-developed animal husbandry and dairy farming. Secondly, a comprehensive agricultural support program has been in force in Belarus for a long time. We should not focus only on the size of subsidies but also on their stability and clear access regulations,” Andrei Danilenko noted. “We believe that these things give you big advantages over your neighbors. And we are happy that our Belarusian colleagues have such opportunities. Russia tries to support its domestic farmers too. Unfortunately, our sectoral programs sometimes fail: subsidies are delayed or new encumbrances are introduced. The requirements for getting state aid change constantly, which impacts the agricultural sector in a negative way.”
“Belarus has a great positive experience in dairy farming. It makes sense to learn from it,” Andrei Danilenko said.
According to him, the National Union of Milk Producers has always advocated maximum coordination of sectoral policies in all member states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).
“We need a common system that will help us make projections as to subsidy rates, production level and prices. There is no doubt that Belarus is a major food exporter to the Russian market and a partner in the Customs Union. This is why we should build mutually beneficial relations,” Andrei Danilenko pointed out. “We believe that the system of indicative prices has completely paid off. Soyuzmoloko also supports intervention buying which is the most fair and marketable way of pricing on the domestic market”.
When asked whether the creation of a supranational association of milk producers within the framework of the Customs Union was possible, Andrei Danilenko noted that the National Union of Milk Producers would support this idea. This organization would help the enterprises find common ground, solve disputes without bringing them to the level of ministries or government.
“Such a platform would help effectively resolve many issues of pricing, technical regulation, quality requirements, product safety, common export strategy outside the Customs Union,” Andrei Danilenko clarified.
“Collaboration is much more efficient than conflicts that we see happen quite often unfortunately,” he noted.
Andrei Danilenko also touched upon the responsibilities of Russia’s Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance (Rosselkhoznadzor).
“Unlike Belarus, in Russia the enforcement powers are shared between two bodies. Rosselkhoznadzor is responsible for the quality and safety of raw material, Rospotrebnadzor is in charge of finished goods. Unfortunately, they perform the same functions sometimes, which the Russian farmers are concerned about. There were cases when Rosselkhoznadzor carried out inspections outside its area of competence or when research results were very controversial”.
According to Andrei Danilenko, today Russia is not self-sufficient in raw material and finished goods.
“The deficit makes up around 7 million tons of milk per year. Belarusian producers cover around 81% of this amount,” the expert said. (BelTA/Business World Magazine)
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