Russia’s large market is challenging for BiH’s milk producers, and exporting milk to the local market would be significant for everyone in the milk production and processing chain, but an agreement is needed at the interstate level between the two countries-
The company “Mlijekoprodukt” said that the Russian market is very challenging for all manufacturers from BiH and that all those with sufficient capacities should certainly take advantage of it.
“We have the necessary capacity to export milk to Russia. We support the efforts of the RS Government to relaunch the topic of exports to the Russian Federation,” they said.
They added that “Mlijekoprodukt” already markets its products to the surrounding markets and the EU market and that exports account for over 48 percent of the company’s operations.
“By entering such a large market as the Russian market, we would additionally raise the business of both our companies and the entire BiH economy,” the company said.
According to them, the regulations and laws of the Russian Federation are among the most rigorous and in many segments more demanding than the regulations of some EU countries.
They point out that opening up the Russian market would be of great importance for everyone in the milk production and processing chain, from primary producers, farmers, to everyone involved in milk processing.
Adin Fakić, director of “Milkos” from Sarajevo, said that BiH is a relatively small milk producer and that any new market is significant because of the lack of security for producers that every liter of milk will be bought.
“I believe that BiH does not use its capacities and potentials. First of all, we do not use the potentials of our relations with Russia and Turkey. We have made a big step forward and we can freely say that we are technically technologically and professionally equipped at the dairy level in the EU,” said Fakić.
He added that the return to the EU market took a long time and that BiH did not return there even with 10 percent of the capacity it exported before Croatia joined the EU.
“BiH has a free trade agreement with Turkey and exports only meat, but it is also proof that it can succeed if there is an understanding of the authorities,” Fakić said.
He added that Russian inspectors visited several dairies in BiH a few years ago, including Milkos, and found that the technical and technological equipment met their criteria.
“The regulations of Russian inspectors are vastly different from those in the EU, and their approach to control is most similar to that of the former Yugoslavia. They, in contrast to the EU, which prefer the principle of self-control and own responsibility for everything you do, consider them to be responsible for this. institutions and veterinary inspections, ” Fakić explained.
He emphasized that without an agreement at the interstate level and the realization of cooperation and signing of the free trade agreement, there is no export to this market.
Vladimir Usorac, president of the RS Dairy Farmers Association, however, is not optimistic about exporting to Russia because, as he says, this market is quite far from BiH, which can be a problem for milk transport.
“Exporting milk to Russia is of particular interest to a country as small as BiH, but the question is the cost-effectiveness of exporting milk to Russia. Why we don’t have milk from the US – because it is far away. It is difficult to transport milk at such a long distance, otherwise, it would be to export milk-based products such as cheeses, ” Usorac said.
He added that there are fewer and fewer milk producers in the RS and that fewer than 4,000 farmers are currently active, and there were once more than 17,000.
“There is a big difference in milk premiums in BiH. For example, in RS there are 25 fenings per liter, while in Una-Sana Canton there are 42 fenings. Different incentives, economic conditions and a shortage of labor lead to a shutdown of milk production,” said Usorac.
At the end of last month, Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of BiH, Staša Košarac, met with Peter Ivantsov, the Russian ambassador to BiH, and on that occasion discussed the export of products of animal origin, primarily meat and milk from BiH to Russia.
Košarac said at the time that he supported the re-arrival of inspectors of the Russian Federation Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance Service in BiH, who should inspect facilities and farms in the field to approve exports of animal products to Russia.
The conclusion of the meeting is that it is important to finalize and activate a series of bilateral documents and memoranda between the two countries as soon as possible, with a focus on those governing the area of free trade, tourism, and joint appearance in third markets.