XV All-Ukrainian Conference with International Participation
30 November, 2023
Organizers: Infagro, Dairy Union of Ukraine
For the second time in 15 years, the DAIRY BUSINESS conference was held in wartime conditions. The event gathered the representatives of the dairy industry and their suppliers, those who ensure the work of the dairy industry of Ukraine despite all the difficulties of the wartime. Participants were greeted by Mykola Solskyi, Minister of Agricultural Policy and Food of Ukraine, Nadiya Bigun, Deputy Minister of Economy of Ukraine, and Alexander Anton, Secretary General of the European Dairy Association (EDA). All of them noted the importance of the dairy industry for ensuring the country’s food security and expressed their readiness to support the Ukrainian dairy business.
On the eve of the conference, the Dairy Union of Ukraine became a member of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Ukraine. The delegates of the companies members of the Dairy Union of Ukraine, were greeted by Gennady Chyzhykov, President of CCIU, who emphasized that now, after the joining, the united professional community of milk processors of Ukraine has gained another ally to protect its interests and expand the geography of exports.
The first session was devoted to challenges the dairy industry faced because of the war. Vadym Chagarovskyi, Head Dairy Union of Ukraine, provided the delegates with the information on the dairy i dustry state: 39 dairies are now located in the occupied territory, 2 were destroyed, the herd is decreasing, the shadow market is growing, approximately 1 million tons of milk produced in households goes just to the shadow market. At the same time, the shortage of raw milk is worsening and, accordingly, the purchase price for raw milk is growing. There is an acute need for personnel in the industry.
But there is also a lot of positive facts, and this is what the Head of Dairy Union did emphasized. The domestic market is growing, the export of dairy products is not much worse than last year. Agricultural enterprises even increased the production of milk and this year more milk will be processed than last year.
The first session was moderated by Arsen Didur, the Executive Director of the Dairy Union of Ukraine. He emphasized the need for closer cooperation with European colleagues and spoke about the success of the Union in establishing the necessary contacts in the EU to protect the interests of domestic dairy industry.
Jerzy Plewa, Expert Team Europe Direct, who spoke on the development of the dairy industry in Poland after the country’s accession to the EU, also emphasized the importance of the participation of representatives of Ukrainian dairy industry in government negotiations between the EU and Ukraine, stressing that such negotiations are a long lasting process. He also stressed that the changes that dairy industry would inevitably undergo during this process are quite painful, in particular, they can lead to the closure of enterprises. He advised his Ukrainian colleagues to engage in the modernization of enterprises and harmonization of relevant industry norms and rules with the European ones, but at the same time he warned that Ukraine cannot borrow all practices from Poland, because since 2004 (the year Poland joined the EU) a lot has changed, in particular CAP budgets for farmers, processors and exporters became more modest.
Vyacheslav Chuk, Commercial Director of the agricultural holding Astarta-Kyiv, spoke about the changes Astarta has already been implemented. Milk production is an important part of the company’s business, it is the largest industrial milk producer in the country. And now, during the war, Astarta is increasing livestock, investing in milk production, including involving farmers and creating conditions for reducing the cost of production. The company built a feed center that serves several dairy farms, it buys equipment for local farmers, because, according to the company’s calculations, 1 euro invested in the development of the farmer’s economy generates 5 euros for the needs of the local community.
It is interesting to note that this year there were more dairy farmers that showed interest in DAIRY BUSINESS, the conference of milk processors.
Leonid Tulush, Head Dept Credit and Finance Policy of the Institute of Agrarian Economics, spoke about the changes that were taking place in the legislation of Ukraine that concerns dairy industry. He drew attention to those erroneous provisions that often contain legislative innovations, preventing the dairy industry from developing and creating unnecessary difficulties and emphasized the importance of participation of professionals, practitioners of the industry, in the development of the bills.
The speeches of Taras Vysotskyi, First Deputy Minister of Agricultural Policy of Ukraine and Andrii Bohdanets, People’s Deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Co-chairman of the Inter-Factional Parliamentary Association “For the development of the dairy industry of Ukraine”, showed that the state bodies are familiar with the problems and needs of the dairy industry and are looking for ways to solve them . In the second session, Oleksiy Hrushetskyi, Adviser to the Director, spoke about the opportunities provided by the state institution “Office for the Development of Entrepreneurship and Export”. He presented the developments of the institution for entrepreneurs aimed at expanding exports activities.
Andrii Tabalov, General Director of MK “Voloshkove Pole” and Natalia Petrivska, Executive Director of the Ukrainian Food Retail Alliance, addressed the topic of relations between dairy producers and trade networks. Hanna Lavrenyuk, General Director of AVM, and Valentyn Zaporoshchuk, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Ichnya Milk Cannery (ICMC), also took part in the panel discussion devoted to this topic. He called for unity in order to face the new challenges threatening the industry and to preserve the national milk production and dairy products. Discussing the problems, each of the panelists representing the entire production chain “milk producer – milk processor – trade” expressed their own point of view on the problems, but all agreed that constant communication and the search for compromises are needed.
The second session dedicated to the dairy trade was moderated by Iryna Vysotska, Coordinator of the “Dairy Sector” Component of QFTP, and Maks Fasteyev, INFAGRO Project Partner.
The session began with a speech by Stephen Spencer, Ever.Ag Insights, CEO of Global Markets, who joined the conference from Australia. In his presentation, he gave a vivid picture of the state of the world milk trade and predicted the further development of the situation. Kyrylo Yezhov, New Business Director at KANTAR, talking about the changes that occurred in the behavior of Ukrainian consumers during the war, shared his thoughts on marketing tools that can be used by dairy companies in their work.
Janusz Kroll, director of the Food Processing Technology Department, A-LIMA-BIS, spoke about the experience and capabilities of the Polish company A-LIMA-BIS and the prospects of using membrane technologies in production of innovative dairy products.
Vasyl Vintonyak, Director INFAGRO, outlined a general view on the state of Ukrainian dairy exports, demonstrating the changes that have taken place over the past year. Oleksiy Dikhterenko, Director of Export, KOMO, Mykhailo Pankiv, Director of International Business Development, Molokija, and Valentyn Zaporoshchuk, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the ICMC, shared their companies’ experience in expanding exports activities. During the discussion, many interesting observations were mentioned – the attitude of foreign consumers to Ukrainian dairy products, the role of traders in dairy trade, the importance of participation of companies in international exhibitions and the need for constant active work of companies to expand the geography of exports to the new regions to promote Ukrainian products.
As always, the conference was held in a warm and friendly atmosphere. The organizers hope that the event was useful for the participants and contributed to the unity of the dairy community of Ukraine for further fruitful work and development of the dairy industry of Ukraine.
Glory to Ukraine!