For the second year, Switzerland has supported the Lviv Taste Fair (LTF), which united together more than 50 small and medium-sized producers of local craft goods, certified organic products, as well as cheeses and dairy products. This event was initiated by the Lviv Regional (Military) State Administration and held under the auspices of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine.

The co-organizers of the two-day fair are the key partners of  Swiss-Ukrainian program “Higher Value Added Trade Development in the Organic and Dairy Sectors of Ukraine” (QFTP) – Ecoterra Lviv city non-governmental organisation and ProCheese community of cheese connoisseurs from Ardis Group. 

On the eve of the LTF, together with representatives of the Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine, the QFTP team conducted a series of monitoring visits and meetings, including with experts from the Main Administration of the State Service of Ukraine on Food Safety and Consumer Protection (SSUFSCP) in Rivne Oblast and the Rivne Regional State Laboratory of SSUFSCP, family farms and cheesemakers of the Family Dairy Farms project in Rivne Oblast. Together with representatives of Lviv Regional (Military) State Administration, team visited Jersey and Harbuzovyi Rai cheese dairies, the AGROTEM dairy farm in Lviv region, and talked to participants of the Lviv Taste Fair from different regions of Ukraine. 

Switzerland consistently supports Ukrainian producers of milk and dairy products on their way to improving the quality and safety of their products.

This assistance is aimed at introducing a risk-based model for controlling the production of dairy products from the farm to consumer. 

In 2023, the Rivne Regional State Laboratory received equipment from QFTP to determine the number of somatic cells and the level of total bacterial contamination in milk. 

This allowed the laboratory to automate and improve the process of testing raw milk samples, as well as expand the scope of accreditation according to internationally recognized methods.

Today, it is the only one laboratory in the region authorized to test milk samples under the Raw Milk Control Program.

The Main Administration of SSUFSCP in Rivne Oblast has been implementing this program since 2021 on the basis of the Dairy Module information and communication system, initially involving the largest dairy farms, which keep 78% of the region’s cows.

During the demonstration of the craft cheese producer – the Dairy Farm, a member of the Family Dairy Farms project – participants discussed how to start a business from scratch in the face of war. The Dairy Farm was founded in the village of Zdovbytsia in 2022, and during the war it managed to increase own milk processing capacity to 3 tons per day. The dairy’s product range includes 10 types of cheese, as well as milk, kefir, butter, sour cream, and yogurt.  

With the support of Switzerland under the Swiss-Ukrainian QFTP program, the Family Dairy Farms project has successfully implemented 7 training initiatives on how to start a business from scratch in cheese making, ensure the production of quality milk from healthy cows, increase profitability and properly plan financial management. 

During the visits, we also had a chance to talk to the owners of cheese dairies in Lviv region – the winners of the World Cheese Awards – Harbuzovyi Rai and Jersey, as well as the AGROTEM milk production farm. This producer is an active participant in the Raw Milk Control Program in Lviv region and supplies Jersey Cheese Factory with quality milk. The farm has more than 180 heads of cattle, including more than 80 cows. 

An important focus now is to create trade opportunities for milk processors. Therefore, one of the important steps in this direction was the organization of the Lviv Taste Fair, which showcased the products of Ukrainian cheesemakers who won the ProCheese Awards 2021 and World Cheese Awards 2022-2023.

Cheese makers-winners of these competitions took part in the Lviv Taste Fair: Stanislavska Cheese FactoryDoobra FarmStaryi PorytskHarbuzovyi RaiJerseySyromanZinkaLel’European Cheese Factory.  As well as cheese producers Lemberg CheeseChesnyi CheeseChesnykivskyi CheeseBudz Baran. More information about the event is available here

Andreas Huber, Director of the Cooperation Program at the Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine, said during the official opening of the fair:  “This year, Switzerland supported the Lviv Taste Fair for the second time. For us, holding this fair is one of the important steps to support organic and dairy producers in the current extremely difficult conditions. This event has become a platform that introduces consumers to high-quality Ukrainian products not only from Lviv region, but also from those regions that have suffered the most from the war, such as Kharkiv and Odesa regions.”

Since 2016, Switzerland has been consistently supporting Ukrainian milk and dairy producers on their way to improving the quality and safety of their products, as well as promoting the development of trade potential both on foreign and domestic markets.