MINSK, 30 September (BelTA) – A meat and dairy association may be established in Belarus. The possibility was mentioned by Aleksei Bogdanov, Head of the Central Office for Foreign Economic Activities of the Belarusian Agriculture and Food Ministry, during the seminar held as part of the international agriculture expo Belagro 2020 to discuss ways to export more Belarusian food, BelTA has learned.
The official noted that setting up the meat and dairy industry association is one of the strategies meant to develop, streamline, and improve this branch of the Belarusian economy. “Today we see the need for such an association that could represent interests of the country in the international scene and would be a member of various international unions,” he noted.
Aleksei Bogdanov stressed that Belarusian companies should increase the shelf life of meat and dairy products if they want to export them to remote countries. “We primarily sell milk powder and frozen meat (poultry and beef) to those markets. Unfortunately, dairy products in the remote regions are represented mainly by one product – sterilized milk that can stay fresh for one year. We need to make and promote yoghurts, cheeses, quark products and other products with their shelf life increased up to one year,” he said.
In his words, it is necessary to embrace new standards in order to increase the shelf life of cooled meat. “At present cooled beef of some companies can stay fresh for 30 days, however, it is necessary to increase the shelf life to 45-60 days and sell products in vacuum packaging to remote markets, including China,” he added.
The official noted that Belarusian companies are having a hard time competing on the Chinese frozen meat market with beef from Brazil and Argentina. “Due to weather conditions they don't spend as much on production: they don't have to spend so much energy and resources on fodder conservation, on heating, on taking care of the animals and so on. But we will have much fewer competitors in the cooled beef segment,” Aleksei Bogdanov explained.
This is why the Agriculture and Food Ministry has been working for a year to certify Belarusian cooled beef for export to China. “I hope the process will be finished within the next 12 months,” the official summed it up.