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Rising exports expands dairy production in Belarus

Belarus is set to increase dairy production from 7.3 million tonnes in milk equivalent in 2018 to 9 million tonnes in milk equivalent in 2025.

The country aims to strengthen its position on the global dairy market, Igor Brylo, Belarus deputy Agricultural Minister said during a press-conference in Minsk on 2 December.

Belarus is already the world’s biggest dairy exporter per capita and among the biggest exporters of numerous dairy products, Brylo said.

“We are the third world’s biggest butter exporter, the fourth biggest cheese exporter and the fifth biggest dry powder exporter,” Brylo added. “In 2018, we exported dairy products to the value of $2 billion, or 60% of all dairy products manufactured in Belarus.”

Photo: Jan Willem Schouten
Photo: Jan Willem Schouten

In 2019, Belarus experienced a strong increase in dairy exports. In the first nine months of the year, the country sold dairy products to customers other than from Belarus for $1.7 billion, 16.1% up as compared to the same period of the previous year, Brylo estimated.

Despite huge sales Belarus dairy exports is poorly diversified, as almost all supplies are flowing to Russia, according to Brylo. In the first nine months of 2019, Belarus dairy exports to Russia amounted to $1.4 billion, he estimated.

Outside CIS the biggest sales market for Belarus dairy products is China. In 2019, export to that the country nearly tripled, reaching $38 million in the first nine months of the year, as compared to the same period of the previous year, Brylo said.

Other markets

Belarus is urgently looking for new sales markets, as high dependence on the Russian market may bring big problems to the national dairy industry in future.

Russia is aiming to increase dairy production from the current 31.1 million tonnes to 34 million tonnes by 2025 in order to achieve self-sufficiency in dairy products, Kharon Amerkhanov, director of the livestock department of the Russian Agricultural Ministry said, speaking at a press-conference earlier this year.

Russia would keep supporting the domestic dairy industry until the target, which is achieving at least 90% self-sufficiency level of dairy products, is finally reached, a government official announced earlier this year.

In 2017, Belarus government said that it had begun developing dairy export supplies to new markets, including US, the Gulf countries, Africa and Asia. Speaking at that time Leonid Zayats, Belarus Agricultural Minister said that the further increase in export supplies should be secured by the new markets.

Belarus expects to get a go-ahead from the Vietnam authorities to export dairy products to that country, Belarus Prime Minister Sergei Rumas said in early December of 2019. In addition, the country is targeting expansion of its dairy exports to Egypt. Dairy exports from Belarus to non-CIS countries is still low, the official statistical data indicated.