The Moscow Region is aiming to produce cheeses. So, it has just launched an operational plan that will lead to becoming not only the second dairy district of the whole Russia, but also the most specialized in the production of cheeses similar to the traditional Italian ones. Assolatte (the Italian dairy producers association) reveals that this ambitious project will be at the center of the 2017 edition of the International Agricultural Dairy Forum, now underway in Moscow. The project envisages the construction of seven dairy farms in the Dmitrovsky District by the end of 2018, for a total area of 17 hectares and an annual production potential of 12,000 tons of quality cheeses. The investment is estimated at 5 billion rubles (75 million euros).
The Moscow government will finance the construction, a few miles north of the capital, of new and modern breeding farms, high-tech plant for milk processing, warehousing and related infrastructures. But it should be the Italian dairy companies to put the know-how there. They have been invited by the Russian institutions to develop partnerships aimed at producing those cheeses that Russian consumers like so much. The embargo imposed in 2014 hit all European companies, which lost 250,000 tons of exports within 24 hours. These were the sales of European companies in Russia, with Italy showing double-digit growth rates – says the President of Assolatte, Giuseppe Ambrosi. Between 2013 and 2016, cheese imports in Russia decreased by 42.5% while domestic production increased by 60.8%, up to 690,000 tons. Russia’s medium-term goal is self-sufficiency. But despite this volume growth, there is still a great lack of expertise in obtaining high-quality dairy production – comparable to the Italian one which is highly appreciated and demanded by the Russian market.