WASHINGTON, March 17 (Itar-Tass) —— The losses of Ukrainian dairy products manufacturers from the cheese dispute with Russia reached 150 million dollars in the first quarter of this year, Agrarian Policy and Food Minister Nikolai Prisyazhnyuk told Itar-Tass in an interview.
“Of course, there are losses,” said Prisyazhnyuk, who is currently in Washington on a working visit. “The manufacturers of dairy products had to lower the price they pay to the producers of milk, as the market has shrunk. This caused a negative effect on us.”
He recalled that for the past 20 years Ukraine had unsuccessfully tried to stop the fall of milk production.
“Last year we coped with that task at last and began to build up outputs, but now this affair (the suspension of the export of cheeses to Russia) has caused a negative effect,” he said, adding that while the export of cheeses was suspended dairy factories shifted to the production of dry milk and were also looking for alternative markets.
The Russian consumer rights watchdog earlier prohibited seven Ukrainian cheese producers from selling their products in Russia. It claimed the products failed to meet Russian standards and contained vegetable fats. Ukrainian producers dismissed the charges as groundless.
Prisyazhnyuk said Ukraine was exporting to Russia an annual amount of 500 million dollars worth of cheeses. For his country Russia is the largest market. It is to be hoped the cheese dispute will be settled soon.