Russian ban set to cost Melksham dairy £750,000
Updated 1:46pm Saturday 16th August 2014 in Latest News
A Melksham dairy producer expects to lose £750,000 because of a Russian ban on food imports from a number of Western countries.
The tit-for-tat ban, imposed last Thursday, bars imports of fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, milk and dairy imports from countries which have imposed sanctions on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.
Coombe Castle International had to cancel a £50,000 cheese order due to be sent last week and is now having to find alternative places to send seven tonnes of cheese.
International sales manager Richard Green said he was very disappointed after working for several years to expand to Russia, a deal only put into practice at the start of this year.
He said this expansion meant eight per cent of their exports were set to go to Russia, which would have brought in £750,000 over the next year, the length of the Russian ban on imports.
“We’re probably going to lose £750,000 over the next 12 months,” said Mr Green.
“Personally it’s a bit gutting. I’ve been working on Russia for the last six years. It’s a brand new market and it was going very well.
“I don’t see why they’ve done it with food. The Russian people will suffer. But there’s nothing we can do about it.”
The company may have to sell some of its cheese, which all comes from Belton Farm in Shropshire, at less than cost price.
“Everyone’s after a deal,” said Mr Green.
“We’re working through seven tonnes we had all cut and packed ready to leave for Russia.
“We don’t do any cheese business in the UK, it’s all going further afield. Germany, Cyprus, Malta are our key markets, some will go to Scandinavia too. Everything needs to be repacked and relabelled.
“We’ve got to use it to our advantage and use it to open new doors. We hope to maybe get some new listings we don’t usually have.”
He said they were keen to continue trading with Russia once the embargo was lifted.
“Fingers crossed we can go back to Russia next August,” he said.
“We can see real promise there. We went from zero to 50 tonnes in six months this year.”
Firms like Marks and Spencer, which has 41 stores in Russia, have also been badly hit.
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