With Russia agreeing to import cheese from India after relaxing conditions, private dairy players in India have an ocean of opportunity to sell cheese in the Russian market. According to industry players, opening of cheese exports would boost cheese production in India and also fetch better prices for milk.

It is learnt that the Union Commerce Ministry has finalised the proposed protocol drafted by Russia and signed the same.

“Russia’s annual cheese demand is estimated at 200,000 tonnes. After the signing of the draft protocol by the Centre, cheese exports to Russia can start anytime,” said Devendra Shah, Chairman of Pune-based Parag Milk Foods.

Shah believed that in order to meet the growing need for making cheese, demand for milk will also rise. Notably, India’s largest milk cooperative, the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (GCMMF), had earlier expressed a possibility of price rise in liquid milk in the near future. The price rise is mainly attributed to the rising input costs for farmers.

The opening of exports to Russia is also expected to lift the international cheese prices, which currently rule in the range of $3,000-3,200 per tonne. Currently, only 60,000-70,000 tonnes of cheese are exported through the official channel to Russia, informed Parag Milk officials.

India’s total cheese capacity is estimated at 32,000 tonnes per annum. Parag Milk Foods has about 40 tonnes per day or about 14,000 tonnes per annum of installed cheese capacity.