bnn.lv Latviski   bnn-news.com English   bnn-news.ru По-русски
Monday 23.07.2018 | Name days: Magda, Magone, Mērija
LatviaLatvia

Latvijas piens: dairy industry is a mirror of our nation’s weakness

FaceBook
Twitter
Draugiem
print
(No Ratings Yet)

Latvia has the most fractured dairy industry in Europe, which only serves to weaken its competitiveness. Companies are already allocating whatever resources they have to conquer export markets, said Latvijas piens Chairperson Anita Skudra in an interview to BNN.

Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUWhat are some of the most notable recent events in your sector?

The moment that changed the situation in the dairy industry came when Russian announced its embargo on imports of European dairy products. This decision is the core of the crisis situation. Its result can be described with over-production of dairy products on global markets. The cancellation of milk quotas that followed in Europe from 1 April and onward only increased tension, causing a significant drop in prices around Europe and the world. Dairy industry’s experts say this situation is unprecedented – prices have gone to an all-time low in the past ten years. In this difficult time the primary question to ask is this – do we, dairy companies in Latvia, have a strong foothold in Baltic States, Europe and elsewhere in the world? The answer, unfortunately, is not optimistic at all: we have the most fractured dairy industry in Europe, which significantly weakens our competitiveness. It is impossible to consolidate resources to achieve a common goal, like exploring a new export market. Currently all companies are spending whatever resources they have to conquer export markets.

Can you say economic conditions are improving and there is a lot of potential for economic growth in the market?

No, the situation in the industry remains critical.

How would you describe the government’s economy policy aimed at improving the economic situation in the country?

We cannot deny the efforts the government puts into improving the situation in the industry. However, we have to admit that this ‘fire-fighting method’ will only ensure the overall survival of the industry. Yes, support has been provided to farmers. We have also seen measures aimed to help with exports – participation in international exhibitions. Experts say the situation is incredibly complicated. It is not something that can be resolved in a short period of time. It is closely tied to developments in Europe’s dairy industry. Latvia’s situation is made worse with one thing – there has not been any kind of future development strategy aimed at exploring international markets as of yet.

How is the industry affected by Latvia’s policy? What changes to legislation would you like to see? What helps? What makes things more complicated?

Politics influence businesses. This can be explained with the geopolitical situation in neighbouring countries, legislation and tax policies employed in Latvia and Europe. Unfortunately, we have short-term planning methods when it comes to matters like those – it is important for us to complete specific budget goals, not think about the future. The state changes its tax policy views every year. This makes it difficult for companies to plan their development and investments.

How would you describe the industry’s position in the Baltics? What about competition with Estonia and Lithuania?

As I’ve already mentioned, Latvia has the most fractured dairy industry. We are considerably behind Estonia and Lithuania. I would even say the dairy industry is a mirror of our nation’s weakness – we can clearly observe that every person wants to rule their own garden; we cannot cooperate with one another, talk to one another and plan ahead.

I would also like to emphasize that the Baltic market is considered as a whole – Lithuania has powerful milk processing companies that have been cooperating with Latvia for a long time. Development strategy employed by Lithuania’s dairy industry has yielded results because Lithuania has always wanted to be the leader in this industry in Baltic States. Around 50% of milk produced in Latvia is exported to Lithuania every day. With that, competition on the market is impressive.

Estonia is several steps ahead of us, I believe. Being close to Finland, where there are many powerful cooperatives and Valio (one of the most powerful milk processing company in the world), which is owned by dairy cooperatives, has definitely benefited Estonia. So it seems strategic thinking and practical work can give results for Latvia’s dairy industry as well.

What can you can your ‘trump card’? What is your ‘Achilles’ heel’?

Our industry’s trump card is definitely high quality milk provided by local milk producers. Our Achilles’ heel is the fractured state of milk producers. There are 39 milk processing companies in the country. They are small and relatively weak when it comes to competition on global markets.

Can you say there is a lack of skilled workers in Latvia?

Considering our country’s location – Jelgava – we don’t feel any lack of qualified workers. We have established great cooperation with Latvian Agriculture University. We’ve had 14 students from the university undergo training at our company this year. We would be happy if we could establish the same kind of cooperation in the field of engineering. It should be noted, however, that we have young and competitive specialists who graduated from Riga Technical University as well. We are interested in teaching young specialists all the details of production in order to achieve better results in cheese production and put Latvijas Piens on the global map of cheese producers.

What do you predict for the next five years? Will the situation in the industry improve, worsen or remain the same?

It has become clear that without enormous dedication and hope, it would be impossible to survive in this industry. With that, I’m certain that five years from now our industry will be in a much better situation. Everyone understands that we need to change in order to be certain about the future and secure better competitiveness. Dairy producers have to cooperate more than do now. We need to cooperate with one another based on common plans for the future.

Ref: 102.109.109.6792


Leave a reply

Week in Lithuania. Liberals ex-leader fails to recover confiscated cash

Eligijus Masiulis, a former Liberal Movement leader on trial in a major political corruption case, has failed to recover cash that was found and seized during searches of his home.

BNN summary of the week: open presidential election in Latvia and no more plastic bags for shoppers

BNN offers a summary of this week’s topical news in a variety of categories: Future; Change; Fight; Decline; Business; Progress.

SRS: cash register reform still stagnates, but has become much faster than it was last year

The cash registers reform continues stagnating. However, it has become much faster than it was a year ago, as reported by State Revenue Service.

Specialists to search for solutions to topical environmental problems in Ventspils

On Friday, 20 July, a meeting was held between Ventspils Commercial Port representatives and specialists from State Environment Service.

Children with functional disorders to receive services financed by EU funds

Child invalids will have access to social services intended to improve their social skills and mobility. More than EUR 4.2 million has been allocated for this goal from the European Social Fund, as confirmed by Latvia’s Central Financing and Contracting Agency.

Producer price level in industry up 4.3% in Latvia

Compared to June 2017, the average level of producer prices in Latvian industry increased by 4.3 % in June 2018. Prices of products sold on the domestic market rose by 4.8 % and those of exported products by 3.7 %.

Total tax debts in Latvia in July – 1.212 billion euros

At the beginning of July total tax debts in Latvia, including outstanding debts, halted debts and debts applied with repayment term extensions, accounted for EUR 1.212 billion, which is 0.8% less than a month prior, according to data from the State Revenue Service.

Survey: every third Latvian resident has received illegal loan offers

Nearly every third resident in Latvia or 31% of respondents admit having received offers to use illegal loan services, as concluded in a survey performed by Latvian Alternative Financial Services Association and SKDS.

Libya opposed to EU's idea to establish migrant centres in North Africa

Libya is against the solution of the European Union to set up migrant centres in the North African country as a means to keep migrants from arriving in the bloc and Libya would not be convinced with financial support, its Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj has noted.

Arrest warrant on Catalan ex-President cancelled by Spain

The Supreme Court of Spain cancelled a European arrest warrant for former Catalan regional leader Carles Puigdemont, as Germany refused to extradite him to face accusations of rebellion for declaring the independence of Spain's region, Catalonia in 2017.

Latvian government plans to allow handing expired food to charity

Latvia’s Agriculture Ministry has prepared amendments to the Law on the Supervision of the Handling of Food that provide permission to hand over certain types of food products to charity after the end of their expiry date.

Estonian industrial producer prices up 2.9% since June 2017

Estonian industrial producer price index has risen by 2.9% between June 2017 and the first summer month this year, resulting in an increase of export prices as well, Estonian statisticians have estimated.

Putin urges NATO to quit «irresponsibly» developing ties with Ukraine, Georgia

Russia's President Vladimir Putin cautioned NATO against developing deeper relations with Ukraine and Georgia, evaluating such a policy was irresponsible and would have consequences for the military alliance.

Latvian parliament not in a hurry to support president Vejonis for a second term

Political parties represented in the Saeima are not eager to support President Raimonds Vējonis for his remainder for a second term.

Weather in Latvia will remain warm and even hot at times

Weather in Latvia in the nearest couple of days will be dictated by a cyclone. Because of that the sky will be partially covered by clouds; thunderstorms are also expected, as reported by State Environment, Geology and Meteorology Centre.

Hungary sued in EU Court for criminalising help to illegal immigrants

The European Union's executive body has stated that a law in Hungary that criminalises support for illegal immigrants is in breach with EU law and Hungary has now been referred to the European Court of Justice for the alleged non-compliance.

Estonians buy alcohol in Latvia; country loses EUR 20 million in six months

Latvian stores located close to the Latvian-Estonian border have sold 1.6 million litres of strong alcoholic drinks in the first half year of 2019. This means Estonia has lost more than EUR 20 million in taxes, according to data from Association of Estonian Alcohol Producers and Importers.

Lithuania’s election watchdog slams ruling LFGU over popular TV series

Political messages can be channeled in various ways and the ruling now Lithuanian party, LFGU has chosen a very delicate way of the communications – through a TV series featuring the beauty and the ambiance of Naisiai, a picturesque settlement in Siauliai district.

Association: around 3,3000 people know of their HIV infection but receive no treatment

HIV remains a serious problem in Latvia – around 3,300 people are aware of their status but receive no treatment and continue spreading the infection. Because of that, it is necessary to act quickly for Latvia to lose its status as HIV kingdom and limit the spread of the infection, says Baltic HIV Association, informing decision-makers and responsible officials in institutions and hospitals about the HIV/AIDS situation.

Driver shortage may force reduction of international road haulage volumes

Latvia’s road haulage companies have started experiencing shortage of drivers. On top of that, if employment conditions for residents of non-EU member states do not change, it may be necessary to reduce the volume of road haulage volumes, says Latvijas auto president Valdis Trēziņš.

Lattelecom’s turnover up 9% in first half-year of 2018

Lattelecom Group’s turnover reached EUR 98.7 million in the first half-year of 2018, growing by 9% in comparison with the same period of 2017, according to unaudited financial results.

1,140 fewer births registered in Latvia in 2017

Since 2016 the number of births in Latvia is declining again. Compared to 2016, a total of 1,140 births fewer were registered in 2017. Also, the provisional number of births registered over the first six months of 2018 (9,664 children) is by 664 children smaller than that registered over the respective period of 2017.

Citadele Bank decides to reform Lithuanian subsidiary as a branch office

Citadele Bank has decided to reform its Lithuanian subsidiary as a branch office, as confirmed in the statement the bank submitted to Nasdaq Riga.

Russian pension age hike discussed amid protest outside Duma

As the Russian paliament votes on the proposal to gradually increase he pension age to 65 for men and 63 for women, some 200 people were seen protesting against the reform in Moscow.

Corruption watchdog chief says bureau has done no illegal actions

After going through Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau’s past investigative activities, the bureau’s chief – Jēkabs Straume – found it confusing that officers often took no appropriate actions after acquiring evidence or receiving indications regarding necessary steps.