ALGERIA – Russia is setting its sights on Algeria as a key market to expand its dairy exports, aiming to increase its global presence in the dairy industry.

Artem Belov, head of the National Union of Dairy Producers (Soyuzmoloko), revealed that Russia plans to boost its dairy exports by 15-20% annually, with a particular focus on Arab countries and Southeast Asia.

He noted that under optimal conditions, the growth rate could even become exponential over the next seven to ten years.

In December, Russia marked a significant milestone by delivering 500 tons of skim milk powder (SMP) from the Volga region to Algeria.

Following this success, the Bryansk Cheese Factory opened a representative office in Algeria, and other Russian enterprises are also exploring opportunities in the region.

Algeria, which is the largest African importer of dairy products, spends around US$800 million annually on milk powder imports alone.

This lucrative market has attracted various global suppliers, including New Zealand, Argentina, Uruguay, Poland, Belgium, and France.

In addition, the Qatari company Baladna recently signed a US$3.5 billion agreement with the Algerian government to develop a dairy project that includes a factory to produce 200,000 tons of milk powder annually.

If we can strengthen our positions there, we can create separate production facilities and build farms aimed exclusively at producing goods for the Algerian market,” Belov said.

He highlighted that Algeria’s market potential is immense, potentially exceeding Russia’s domestic production capacity.

Meanwhile, Russia has also begun dairy product deliveries to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Tunisia, Egypt, and the Philippines as part of its strategy to diversify export destinations.

The move is set to stabilize the domestic market by balancing supply and demand through international trade.

According to Belov, expanding exports is crucial for maintaining balance in the domestic market, ensuring sustained growth for the Russian dairy industry.

Currently, Russia’s annual dairy exports are valued at US$400 million, which represents about 1% of the global dairy market estimated at over US$40 billion.

While Russia has stopped publishing detailed dairy export statistics, 2023 data indicated significant growth, with whey exports doubling and milk powder supplies increasing by 4.7 times.

Russia’s traditional dairy export markets have been neighboring countries such as Kazakhstan, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Armenia, as well as China.

However, as Russia shifts its trade focus away from Europe, it is increasingly targeting new markets in the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

Domestic consumption of milk and dairy products in Russia has reached record levels over the past 15 years, with production increasing by 4.9% to 25.8 million tonnes in 2023.

Looking ahead, Russia expects to maintain a production growth rate of 3-4% and a consumption growth forecast of 3% in 2024.

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