MUSTAPHA KADHEM KHAFADJI, Deputy Vice President of Al-Khafadji Group: on the opportunities of Ukrainian dairy exports to Iraq

mustafa-44551-180We got interested in Ukrainian milk exports to the market of Iraq almost a year and a half ago. We studied the options of Ukrainian dairy products supply to Iraq, met with one of the dairy companies, held negotiations. It turned out that there was a problem with packaging. I mean that Ukrainian dairies do not produce milk in the packages of the volume we need, namely, 130 ml. The smallest volume that could be offered to us was 240 ml. It turned out that in Tetra Pak packaging machines used by Ukrainian dairies, you cannot reconfigure the line for another volume of packaging. It is necessary to change the entire line, and this is very expensive.

Now, there are three large dairy companies in Iraq’s dairy market: Kuwait company KDD (Kuweiti Danish Dairy), the company Almarai (Saudi Arabia) and Labneh (Iran). These three companies occupy a very large share of Iraq’s dairy market. They supply milk.

In Ukraine we would like to buy cheese – pasty cream cheese and brine white cheese. We are also interested in supply of sour cream, ice cream and milk powder. By the way, I applied here, in Ukraine, to request supplies of milk powder, but I did not notice any activity on the part of the seller.

Actually, there are no Ukrainian dairy producers on the market of Iraq. As I said, the main problem with importing Ukrainian milk to Iraq is package volume. In addition, I would say that it is also fear, which suppresses active trade, the fear of the new market. This is the consequence of the long practice of trade with Russia where the bulk of the dairy products were going, and there was no need to worry about marketing in other countries. It was convenient – everyone knew each other, knew each other’s tastes, habits and preferences. Trade relations were well established. And when the problem with exports appeared, seeking new markets became urgent. But how to find them? First of all, you need to know the market where you are going to sell your goods. This applies to any product, including dairy. If you seriously aim at a new market, then the easiest way, I believe, is to hire someone who originates from this country. Now in Ukraine many foreign students are studying, including those from Iraq. They graduate from the universities and they are looking for a job. They can be used for networking and market research.

There are also artificial difficulties that do not facilitate the development of trade. For example, a businessman from the Emirates wants to go to Ukraine to get acquainted with the market and visit the enterprises of potential partners. Even to just come to Ukraine, he must spend a lot of time in the Consulate of Ukraine in his country to obtain the visa. Sometimes the process drags on for six months! I’ve been living in Ukraine for 10 years and I’m going to further stay here. I believe that for active development of Ukrainian exports, including dairy, not only the exporting enterprises should have proactive Sales Departments that immediately respond to requests. Everything related to visits of the country’s export business partners must be at the proper level: taxi drivers at the airports, hotel staff and representative offices in other countries.

What can our company Al-Rashidiya offer to Ukrainian dairies to facilitate easier entry to the Iraqi market? We have a staff of managers in major cities of the Gulf, permanent offices in the cities of Baghdad and Dubai, a round-the-clock call center and a growing client base, which currently comprises more than 100,000 enterprises in Iraq and the neighboring countries of Levant (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Syria). We can consider the possibility of selling dairy products of Ukrainian enterprises through the network. To study the demand for the product range offered by suppliers we use this site http://al-rashidiya.com. If there is interest in co-operation, you are welcome to contact us using the live chat on the site. Our managers will provide more details on how to proceed.

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