MINSK, 30 November (BelTA) - Belarus is the undisputed European leader in terms of manufacture of milk and dairy products, Maria Klimova, Deputy Head of the Central Office for Processing Industry at the Agriculture and Food Ministry, said in a new episode of the project "After the Fact: Lukashenko 's Decisions” on BelTA's YouTube channel.
According to her, Belarus' self-sufficiency in dairy products is at 263.3%. "This is a lot. If we compare the countries of Western Europe, the European Union, the level of self-sufficiency reaches 116%. In Central and Northern Europe it is 130-170%. But Eastern and Southern Europe, for example, Spain, Bulgaria, Romania, are less self-sufficient in milk, at only about 60-80%," the specialist said.
She stressed that Belarus is considered the undisputed leader in terms of production of milk and dairy products per capita: 841kg per capita per year, of which only 237kg is consumed in the country. "In terms of cheese, the per-capita production is about 30kg per year, while the consumption stands at 7.5kg," Maria Klimova gave another example.
Obviously, such a difference in production and domestic consumption contributes to export growth. Belarusian dairy products have long been known for their high quality far beyond the borders of the country. Belarusian dairy products are supplied all over the world, and the geography and volume of supplies are constantly increasing.
However, that was not always the case. The country's dairy industry has made a giant step forward in recent years. Instead of expensive imported cheese, for example, Belarusian stores sell Belarusian cheese of excellent quality and at affordable prices today. “In 2000 there were about 15 kinds of butter. Today, there are 40 of them. There are 380 different types of cheeses, including those with the ripening period of up to a year. We used to say that three and six months was a long ripening period, now it is six months to a year. The quality of milk lets us produce good cheeses with a long ripening period. We manufacture 1,800 types of dairy products at domestic enterprises,” the specialist said.
According to her, in accordance with the country's food security concept of 2005 Belarus has focused on import substitution. The lineup of cheese and whole-milk products has significantly expanded. New packaging, new bottling and cheese-making lines have been installed. “We are fully provided with domestic dairy products. Today 95% of cheese on sale in our retail outlets is produced locally. Almost 100% of butter is made at home,” Maria Klimova said.