The Ukrainian Union of Dairy Enterprises plans to join the European Dairy Association in 2024, hoping this step will lay the foundation for further trade expansion, the local publication Telegraph reported.
Under a memorandum of cooperation, the Ukrainian organisation plans to make it official with the European Dairy Association in March 2024. The parties intend to “demonstrate the unity and a common position about working in the European dairy market”, the Ukrainian union said in a statement.
“Despite the current difficult conditions, the Ukrainian dairy business in the medium term sees itself as part of the European ‘dairy family’. A common vision and future is important,” Arsen Didur, executive director of the Ukrainian union, commented.
Ukrainian dairy companies want to understand how the dairy business works in Europe, what regulatory requirements dairy companies must comply with, and what working in a single European dairy market implies.
“We must also convey to European organisations and governments the specifics of the work of our Ukrainian companies and voice the main goal: integration into the EU must be prepared on both sides and must benefit both European business and Ukrainian business,” said Didur.
Currently, Ukrainian dairy companies realised only 10-15% of their export potential, said Valentin Zaporoshchuk, chairman of the supervisory board of the Ichnyansky milk canning plant.
Ukraine needs to increase industrial milk production to at least 5 million tonnes per year from the current 2.7 million tonnes, said Vadim Chagarovsky, head of the Ukrainian Union. This would take investments of around €3 billion, and the Ukrainian dairy industry hopes European dairy companies could participate in the future industry re-construction programme, he added.
Ukrainian dairy companies believe they are ready to operate as a part of the European dairy industry.
“We have a single strategy and a single vision for all legislative initiatives that are being considered in Europe today. We constantly exchange documents and information, and we understand what is happening in the European market thanks to our colleagues from the European Dairy Association. Such cooperation allows us to navigate the European space,” said Zaporoshchuk.
There are already successful examples of how the Ukrainian and European dairy industry could jointly solve problems, Zaporoshchuk said, citing the crisis unravelling earlier this year when Polish regulators planned to half the Ukrainian dairy imports to the country, but a joint appeal of Ukrainian and Polish dairy companies prevented this from happening.