Personality of the Year Winner, Agnieszka Maliszewska

Poland dairy sector 'will mark its presence on the world milk map'

By Mark ASTLEY contact

- Last updated on GMT

Poland dairy sector 'will mark its presence on the world milk map'

Related tags: European union, Poland

The Polish dairy sector is ready to make its mark on "the world milk map," the 2014 DairyReporter.com Personality of the Year, Agnieszka Maliszewska, claims.

Speaking with DairyReporter.com, Polish Milk Chamber director, Maliszewska - last week crowned Personality of the Year by DairyReporter.com - said the country's dairy sector has undergone a "substantial transformation"​ since emerging from decades of Soviet rule.

Since Poland's accession to the European Union (EU) in 2004, this "transformation"​ has "accelerated,"​ she said.

Just over 10 years on, Poland is the sixth largest producer of milk in the EU, with its dairy farmers delivering more than 10m tonnes to processors in the year ended March 31 2014.

Polish dairy product sales stood at more than US$5bn (€4.43bn) in 2014 - up from around US$4.4bn (€3.89bn) in 2010 (Euromonitor).

Maliszewska, who is responsible for strengthening the Polish dairy sector domestically and abroad, said the Polish Milk Chamber also understands the increasing importance of "international activity."

"Many trips and meetings"

As a result, 2014 was one "of many trips and meetings" ​for Maliszewska.

She recently returned from visits to Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, and is now preparing for a trip to Dubai.

"Typically, business trips are associated with specific markets in which we want to strengthen our presence as a country that offers good quality and attractively priced dairy products,"​ she said. 

The EU milk quota abolition, scheduled for April 2015, was the reason for many.

But in August 2014, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev threw a spanner in the works - announcing a one-year ban on the import of agricultural products, including cheese and milk, from EU Member States, the US, Australia, Canada, and Norway.

"As you know, Poland is one of those countries that were quite severely affected by the Russian embargo,"​ said Maliszewska. "We had a well-established customer base there. Many companies have focused a large part of their production on that market."

"For us the embargo has changed that geographical map of dairy products trade."

Just prior to Medvedev's announcement, the Polish Milk Chamber embarked on a three-year project to promote Polish dairy products in China and Russia. The project, which is part-funded by the EU, was "immediately concentrated on the Chinese market."

"World milk map"

Despite this setback, Maliszewska is "very optimistic" ​about the future development of the Polish dairy sector.

"We have huge potential and we are not afraid of hard work. Our facilities are modern and products are very high quality,"​ she said.

"I am convinced, therefore, that the Polish dairy industry will mark its presence on the world milk map."

With nearly 40% of the public vote, Maliszewska was last week named the DairyReporter.com Personality of the Year - an achievement she branded her "greatest"​ in 2014.

"This a great honour, but an even greater surprise. I have received many congratulations from many countries,"​ she said. "It is an honour for me, but most of all for my country."

"I take this opportunity to thank my team, because we work together towards the success of the Polish Milk Chamber and the dairy industry in Poland."

Related topics: Markets, Emerging Markets, Fresh Milk

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