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Belarusian meat, dairy products in EU within six months

Belarus can start supplying meat and dairy products to the European Union within the next six months, Belarusian Agriculture and Food Minister Semyon Shapiro said during an online conference.

“I think major changes should happen within the next half a year,” said the Minister. “Belarus is not widely represented in the European Union yet. Our dairy products are already available in England, Japan, and many other countries. They are available as finished products and can be used as raw stock. In order to increase the access to the European Union market, we are now working on several things, in particular, the technology”.

At present Belarus is in talks with the European Union regarding food supplies to Europe. A meeting of agriculture ministers of Belarus, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is supposed to take place in Riga in two weeks. The agriculture ministers of the Baltic Sea states have promised aid to Belarus in getting wider representation in the European Union.

“I think apart from technological measures some political steps are necessary. We expect considerable support from our diplomatic agencies. The support is already granted: negotiations with the European Commission are in progress, meetings are organized, protocol obligations are honored,” said Semyon Shapiro. He also said that European experts have already checked three Belarusian companiesSanta Bremor, Savushkin Product, Bereza Cheese Factory. The experts were pleased with the quality of Belarusian meat and milk processing, remarked the Minister.

In his words, the European Union has rather severe requirements for the entire chain of milk product manufacturing from feeding the animals to supplies to end customers. “I think there are some tricks here, the lack of a desire to see another competitor on the European market. Taking into account the cost of our products, we will be tough competitors for European producers,” believes Semyon Shapiro. “Belarusian food is less expensive thanks to lower salaries and other factors. Many European Union representatives don’t like that”.

The Agriculture and Food Minister also underlined that Russia and Ukraine will remain key markets for the Belarusian meat and dairy industry for the next few years. At present, Russia’s annual demand for meat stands at 9 million tonnes per annum, while the country manufactures 3 million tonnes. “At present Russia’s demand for milk makes 37-38 million tonnes per annum while the country manufactures only 32 million tonnes. Why the brotherly country is restricted to supplying only 3 million tonnes of milk onto this market? I think we should supply more to the Russian market. Our colleagues in Russia are interested in more favorable treatment of Belarusian products. Since the Soviet Union times we have been a major supplier of food to the Union market. It would be ill-advised to break these business ties both for the Belarusian and Russian sides,” believes the Belarusian Agriculture and Food Minister.

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