Silvan Hungerbühler, Program Manager of the Trade Promotion Division of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), is on a working visit to Ukraine. The assessment of the progress in the development of the dairy sector trade potential is also among the objectives of the mission, which includes the portfolio of economic development projects and programs financed by SECO.

Since 2016 Switzerland has supported the Ukrainian public and private stakeholders of the dairy value chain on the sectoral, organizational, and individual levels. It is in collaboration with the local partners that the legal framework is improved for better business environment on the sectoral level, awareness about the importance of ensuring milk quality and safety is raised, capacity of the organizations involved in the Raw Milk Control Program is developed, and functional consultancies are provided to dairy SMEs.

Thus, on 6 May 2023 Mr. Hungerbühler together with the team of the program “Higher Value Added Trade from the Organic and Dairy Sector in Ukraine”  (QFTP) and representatives of the Swiss Embassy in Ukraine Andreas Huber, Director of Cooperation, and Viktor Shutkevych, Assistant Director of Cooperation, visited Pustomyty Interrayon State Laboratory of the State Service of Ukraine of Food Safety and Consumer Protection (SSUFSCP) (Navariia village, Lviv oblast). At the laboratory the participants of the mission had a meeting with the management of the SSUFSCP Main Directorate in Lviv oblast. During the visit the representatives of Switzerland had an opportunity to learn the results of implementation of the Raw Milk Control Program based on the IT-platform “Dairy Module” in Lviv oblast.

During the meeting with Acting Head of the SSUFSCP Olga Shevchenko Silvan Hungerbühler assured of readiness to contribute to capacity development of the SSUFSCP laboratories in the implementation of the Raw Milk Control Program in the frame of the QFTP Emergency Response Plan till 30 June 2023 which provides for support of preparation of the accreditation process according to the international standards or testing milk samples (purchase of laboratory equipment, consumables, standard samples, diagnostics, calibration of laboratory equipment, participation in professional testing rounds with an EN ISO/IEC 17043 accredited provider, etc) based on the institutions’ requests in the frame of the call for proposals. For the details of the call see.

In addition, the QFTP Emergency Response Plan till 30 June 2023 provides for support of private service providers in the dairy sector in recovery of dairy SMEs in affected regions by providing practical advice on restoring livestock productivity, providing veterinary services, and improving the quality and safety of raw milk. For the details of the call see.

The QFTP Dairy Sector Component team has already organized  four rounds of such calls to support the activities related to knowledge and competence sharing by service providers. To assess these activities there were meetings with partner organizations and dairy FBOs in Lviv, Kyiv, and Poltava oblasts.

Thus, the delegation visited cheese factory Garbuzovyi Rai (Mylchytsi village, Lviv oblast) which had become the participant of the free training course for Ukrainian cheese makers “Theory of Professional Cheesemaking” from ProCheese Academy and British Academy of Cheese with financial support of Switzerland. Overall, over 170 Ukrainian cheese makers were able to join the online training. For more details of the joint educational project see.

In addition, cheese factory Garbuzovyi Rai took part in Lviv Taste Fair on 7 May 2023 joined by 12 cheese makers from all over Ukraine. Overall, 100 cheeses including  the winning cheeses of the international cheese competition World Cheese Awards and the national competition of Ukrainian cheeses and cheesemongers ProCheese Awards were presented at the event which promoted trade with local, organic, and craft dairy products. The event was organized by the local partners with support of Switzerland, for more information see.

QFTP supports the dairy FBO’s initiatives of capacity development in value addition. Thus, in March 2023 at Nemishaieve Agrarian College of NUBiP a five-day practical seminar (advanced training course) “Technological Peculiarities of Craft Cheese Production” was held for the educators of higher and undergraduate education together with the School of Cheesemaking by Iryna Demianiuk.

During the visit of the Swiss delegation to the School of Cheesemaking by Iryna Demianiuk (Kriukivschyna village, Kyiv region) on 8 May 2023, the importance of improving practical skills by cheese makers and the opportunity to gain knowledge for those who just start in cheesemaking were discussed. With this purpose three online training modules for cheese makers with the possibility to take part in practical master classes of the School of Cheesemaking by Iryna Demianiuk were developed with support of Switzerland.   

The next stop was in Poltava oblast – the largest milk production region in the category of agricultural enterprises (in 2021 the share of milk produced by all types of enterprises in the oblast was 8% of the total national volume – 8.7 mln tonnes). However, the aim of the mission was to visit Volodar-S farm belonging to the Skrylnyk family (Butenky village), which has up to 30 heads of cattle. The farm has become a participant of two projects implemented by the service providers in the dairy sector in the frame of the QFTP activities.

Thus, together with Dairy Management System LLC 40 milk producers are supported in Kharkiv, Dnipro, Poltava, Odesa, and Mykolaiv oblasts to  elaborate a set of measures to adapt production processes in farm management under martial law through improvement  of dairy cattle health which will ultimately increase competitiveness and economic profitability of production.

The owners of Volodar-S farm also took part in the project “Stimulation of Cheesemaking Among Dairy SMEs” which was implemented in spring 2023 by the QFTP’s partners, i.e. Farming Competence Centre LLC at cheese factory “Cheese Wheel” led by Roman Khaietskyi, a technologist, cheesemaking expert, recognized specialist among cheese makers in Ukraine. For the project results see.

The Skrylnyk family has already started building their cheese factory, but recognizes the need for further improvement of raw milk and its suitability for cheesemaking.

In addition, on 11 May 2023 the SECO representatives made an assessment visit to the dairy farm in Dnipro oblast (YUM-Vatutino LLC, Boltyshka village) during which they met the partners of the Swiss humanitarian project in the frame of which 296 farms received support in four oblasts: Sumy, Chernihiv, Kharkiv, and Kyiv oblasts. The project was implemented at the request of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine in cooperation with the Association of Milk Producers (AMP), International Charitable Foundation #SaveUA, and the SSUFSCP under the coordination of the Embassy of Switzerland in Ukraine in June 2022 – January 2023. For the details of implementation of the dairy humanitarian project visit.

Viktor Shutkevych, Assistant Director of Cooperation at the Swiss Embassy, taking into account the previous experience of implementing the project, highlighted the importance of further support of dairy farms in the affected eastern and northern oblasts of Ukraine. With this aim the Swiss Embassy makes every coordination effort for maximum interaction among different Swiss-Ukrainian projects and programmes which will contribute both to recovery of dairy FBOs and growth of value added trade in the dairy sector both on the domestic and international markets to contribute to the overall goal of sustainable and inclusive growth in Ukraine.