Bulgarian dairies boosted by EU trade

Related tags Dairy European union

The Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture has revealed that dairy
exports to the EU tripled in 2003 and that in the light of further
demand from the EU overall dairy production is set to increase by
50 per cent for 2004.

The Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture has revealed that dairy exports to the EU tripled in 2003 and that in the light of further demand from the EU overall dairy production is set to increase by 50 per cent for 2004.

Further to this producers have said that following the initial boom, they are projecting that increase will remain steady after 2004 as Bulgarian dairies continue to increase their footprint within the EU countries.

Official figures from the Association of Milk Processors in Bulgaria revealed that country's 2003 exports in cheese doubled when compared to the levels set in 1999, and now exceed 14,000 tonnes. EU countries which have been driving demand for Bulgarian dairy produce include Greece and Italy, where mozzarella style cheese as proved to be very popular. Meanwhile Germany has remained as a strong market for range of Bulgarian cheeses, the figures also revealed.

The Association for Milk Processors in Bulgaria said that the reason for the optimistic figures was due to the fact that four major dairies in Bulgaria will be licensed to export their products within the European Union during the course of this year, bringing the total number to 14 dairies.

This fills a hole in the country's annual dairy export quota, which currently stands at 5,000 tons. The Association added that so far the quota, which runs from mid-2003 to mid-2004, has remained far from fulfilled.

Currently the most important sub-sector of the industry is cheese, which is largely driven by strong domestic demand as well as exports to both Germany and the US. Currently Bulgarian dairy producers hold a 30 per cent share of the white brined cheese market in the United States.

Dairy produce has always been an integral part of the Bulgarian diet and in 2003 total sales were estimated to have reached Lev631 billion (€322bn). Although sales volumes for the domestic market have continued to increase, an ever-competitive market means that the value of sales has fallen by an estimated 4 per cent over the last year, largely in response to pricing pressures.

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