The Russian ban on dairy imports from a number of Western countries, including Australia, is unlikely to be lifted until at least 2018, according to Dairy Australia managing director Ian Halliday.
Mr Halliday, who is just back from the World Dairy Summit held in Lithuania, told the Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework consultative group forum on Thursday that Australian dairyfarmers should not expect Russia to be back in the market anytime soon.

The Russian ban on food imports from the United States, European Union, Australia, Canada and Norway was imposed year in retaliation to Western sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

It had led to decreased consumpion of dairy products in Russia but also increased domestic production at higher prices.

“Russian dairyfarmers are getting a good price, so they are happy, so Putin is happy,” Mr Halliday said.

So the ban was unlikely to be lifted until after the Russian election in 2018.

This meant the banned countries were now looking to export into Australia’s traditional markets in Asia and the Middle East.

But the picture on dairy presented at the world forum was still overwhelmingly positive, Mr Halliday said.

Demand was tipped to grow by 20 billion litres in the next 10 years with growth continuing in Asia and the Middle East.

Other countries were interested to know why Australia was holding up so well as prices plummetted in other areas.

Mr Halliday said this was because unlike many other developed countries, Australia’s domestic market was still growing strongly.

But the big oppportunity for growth would come from exports with recent investments in Australian processing totalling $2.5 billion to provide increased capacity.

Mr Halliday said that was why the Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework was so important.

“We must protect our right to farm and we must protect our right to sell,” he said.

The Australian dairy industry was well advanced on sustainability compared with industries in many other countries as it had developed a framework with substance behind the ‘headline’ targets.

“Other than the Netherlands, no other country has progressed so far so quickly,” he said.

Source: The Australian Dairyfarmer/Newsonline