Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), which markets brand Amul, is inching closer to export dairy products to Russia, making it the first Indian dairy major to enter that market.
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Moscow, Amul is hopeful that Russia’s Rosselkhoznadzor (also known as Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance or FSVPS) – will soon allow imports of dairy products from India by removing 1,000 cows’ farm condition.
A top GCMMF official was part of the Indian delegation that accompanied Modi during the visit.
Although Russia had evaluated India as their supplier last year, after visits to few Indian dairy plants in November 2014, FSVPS had come up with the suggestion that only those Indian dairy plants which own more than 1,000 cows shall be approved for export of dairy products to Russia. Amul had objected to this as an impractical non-tariff barrier as Russia had not imposed this condition in any other country from where it imports milk products.
Also, majority of farmers in India have 2 to 5 milch animals and there are not more than 2 to 3 farms across the country that have more than 1,000 cows as asked by Russian protocol.
Based on these facts, Amul had knocked the Centre’s doors arguing that for paltry exports – less than 100 metric tonnes (MT) – India should not surrender to this special condition.
“If Russia agrees to see things in newer perspective, it will help Indian dairy co-operative sector especially at the time when it is holding high inventory of milk powder and is receiving very high milk,” said R S Sodhi, GCMMF’s managing director.
All co-operatives put together currently have an inventory of 50,000 MT milk powder while Amul alone procures 205 lakh litres per day milk.
During Modi’s visit, GCMMF’s representative explained India’s stand during an inter-ministerial meeting of steering council when each delegate was given a chance to present their case and how the Indo-Russian trade can be increased in the sector.
“Russian authorities have assured to look into this aspect properly and do the needful in the matter. We are hoping that FSVPS will take a positive stand and soon allow imports from India,” said the official.
The ban on import of dairy products from European Union, United States, Australia and New Zealand has resulted into huge shortages of dairy products in local Russian market
A population of 144 million and good consumption of dairy products makes Russia a net importer of milk products. It imports 1 lakh metric tonnes (MT) of milk powders, 1.4 lakh MT of butter and around 3.5 lakh MT of cheese every year.