Webinar on interim results of the pilot project “Raw Milk Control Program”
On 11 – 12 June, the webinar on implementation of the pilot project “Raw Milk Control Program” was held with the assistance of the Ministry for Development of Economy, Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine (hereinafter referred to as the MDETAU) and the State Service of Ukraine for Food Safety and Consumer Protection (hereinafter referred to as the SSUFSCP) and in the frame of the Swiss-Ukrainian Project “Higher Value Added Trade from the Organic and Dairy Sector in Ukraine” (hereinafter referred to as the Program).
The webinar goal was to summarize the interim results of the Pilot project on raw milk control program implementation and analyse the first lessons learnt from the perspective of market operators and the competent authority. Among others, the concerns and potential solutions were discussed and further steps were outlined.
The event was held in online format and gathered over 80 participants representing the MDETAU, SSUFSCP, Embassy of Switzerland, private sector associations as well as the participants of the pilot project, in particular, oblast inspectors, laboratories, sampling delegates, milk producers, and processors.
Day 1 of the webinar started with the welcome words of Serhii Hluschenko, Deputy Minister for Development of Economy, Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine: “I would like to note that we are in the process of transformation and new legislation development. The Dairy Module, elaborated in the frame of the Swiss-Ukrainian Milk Safety Project, is the continuation of the pilot project. The Dairy Module is aimed at facilitating implementation and compliance with the legislative requirements”. Olga Schevchenko, Acting Head of the SSUFSCP, mentioned: “In my opinion, the interim results of the pilot project will have a positive effect both for the business and inspectors in terms of evaluation of the control results. It is great that in the frame of the pilot project the laboratories were provided with the equipment which allowed getting the results which will be presented today. Although these results are only interim, they are indicative enough, and I hope that will do our best for this system to be implemented nationwide”. Viktor Shutkevych, Assistant Director of the Swiss Cooperation Office in Ukraine, the Embassy of Switzerland, stressed: “Since the signing of the Free Trade Agreement between Ukraine and EFTA in 2011, the Ukrainian party has requested Switzerland to support milk safety domain. The pilot project implementation inspired us to proceed in this domain to achieve the level when the raw milk control program is extended to the national level so that our people consumed safe and quality dairy products. This is our common goal!”.
Igor Kravchenko, Local Program Manager, outlined the main areas of activity of the new Swiss-Ukrainian Program for the next 3 years in the frame of which technical assistance of raw milk control program implementation in Ukraine will be provided.
Marco De Nardi, Leading International Expert, SAFOSO AG, stressed the importance of monitoring the quality and safety of raw milk from the point of view of all parties involved.
Iryna Vysotska, Dairy Component Coordinator, told the participants about the importance of the pilot project and why it is necessary to proceed with it. Isabel Lechner, Leading International Expert, SAFOSO AG, shared the relevant information and told how raw milk control is currently implemented in Switzerland. Today, Switzerland has 533,000 dairy cows on 20 000 farms, the average herd size of which is 26 cows.
Day 2 of the webinar started with the discussion of the main challenges and limitations of the current Pilot project. The participants had the opportunity to hear the opinions of the representatives of the MDETAU and SSUFSCP both form the Head Office and involved territorial bodies in the pilot oblasts. Moreover, the participants discussed what should be done to attract more food business operators to participation in the program and, what is more important, to outline the ways of future development. To conclude, Marco De Nardi and Isabel Lechner summarized the webinar results and informed of the next steps.
This event was supported by Switzerland within the framework of the Swiss-Ukrainian Program “Higher Value Added Trade from the Organic and Dairy Sector in Ukraine” implemented by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL, Switzerland) in partnership with SAFOSO AG (Switzerland).
Background information on the pilot project “Raw Milk Control Program”
The pilot project “Raw Milk Control Program” is implemented in four oblasts – Kharkiv, Vinnytsia, Mykolaiv and Poltava. With the financial support of Switzerland, the required equipment and reagents for raw milk laboratory testing for somatic cells count (SCC), total bacterial count (TBC), freezing point (FP) and presence of inhibitors were purchased. Thus, for the period of the pilot project, raw milk tests are free of charge for the involved milk producers. In addition, the Dairy Module application for automatic collection of test results and a rolling geometric average calculation for TBC and SCC was elaborated.