XII National Conference with International Participation
20 November, 2019
Premier Hotel Rus, Kyiv, Ukraine
Organizers: Infagro, Dairy Union of Ukraine
For the first time in twelve years of holding the Dairy Business conference, the word “crisis” sounded almost in all the speeches. There have been difficult periods in the industry before. But seems that now we have not just a crisis, but the systemic one. We can see sharp reduction in the number of livestock, acute shortage of raw milk, cessation of construction of new dairy farms. Farmers are showing wait-and-see attitude because of the uncertain situation with the opening of the land market.
The raw milk deficit leads to growth of milk price. This creates complications in dairy processing plants operation. They work on the verge of loss-making, shrink production and become uncompetitive in foreign markets. They cannot invest in modernization, which many of them need. Lack of the qualified staff in both dairy farms and processing enterprises is also a big problem.
For dairy processors, the situation is aggravated by constant increase in the cost of services of retail chains. They consider dairies only as dairy suppliers and the source of income, but not partners. Indeed, from the point of view of trade there is no difference in what to trade – imported or domestic goods. But the state should not be indifferent, because dairy products are the important component of the state’s food security. In this situation, dairy specialists are determined to draw attention of the state authorities to their problems. In their opinion the delay in taking measures may lead either to loss of the industry, or to its long stagnation. If this happens, we will need many years to get the industry recovered.
There is not much reason to be pleased by Ukraine’s 18th place in the world ranking of milk production. No reason to be proud that our current modest milk outcome is comparable with that of some EU countries. Our natural favorable conditions for dairy farming do allow to achieve much better level of performance. The country has rolled down from position of one of the world’s top dairy exporters to the prospect of becoming a net importer.
Since 2008 Infagro has always published the key points of all the DAIRY BUSINESS conferences. If you read them, you can see that in late 2000s the state support was one of the mandatory subjects for discussion. In later years, the delegates were declaring that there was no chance to get any support from the state and dairy business should rely only on itself. This year, all the delegates say that without the state support the dairy industry can be lost.
At the same time, Ukrainian milkmen do not want to plunge only into problems. They want to know more about world dairy tendencies and trade, what is new in consumption of dairy products in Ukraine and abroad. To speak on these topics the conference organizers invited Alexander Anton, EDA, Klaudia Feurle, Eucolait and Alexei Bogdanov, Ministry of Agriculture and Food of Belarus. The organizers are very grateful to them for their participation and interesting presentations. Ukrainian dairymen are going to fight for the dairy business. For them it is important to know that the prospects for the world development of the industry are positive.
It was also interesting to listen to Alexander Dundal, who represents Schwarte Group in Ukraine, and Oleg Dymar, MEGA s.a. – both sponsoring companies. Their presentations were devoted to the possibilities of technical re-equipment and innovative technologies. Maryna Kostromina, KANTAR Ukraine, and Irina Garslyan, Nielsen, presented changes in dairy marketing strategies and changes in consumer preferences.
There was a hot panel discussion of dairy farmers and milk procurement directors of well known dairies. It showed that there are no contradictions between milk producers and processors. The professional people participating in the discussion showed that they can find a common language. But all the participants spoke about the need of involvement of representatives of the state authorities. Without their participation the agreements reached in negotiations cannot be implemented. Dairy trade panelists were emphasizing the same. Decisions on the dairy industry problems should be taken not only by dairy farmers and processors. To make the decisions viable and create the long-awaited business friendly conditions, representatives of retail chains and state authorities should also take part.
The conference does not end with this post release. The Dairy Union of Ukraine is organizing negotiations of all the mentioned parties. Prime Minister will be informed about the alarming situation in the dairy industry. This is what Vadym Chagarovsky, Chairman of the Dairy Union, declared at the end of the conference. No time should be lost. It is about saving the dairy industry, and ultimately about the food security of Ukraine.
Looking forward to seeing you next year at