"White Gold" – an Opportunity for Serbia
- Written by Agneza Trpkovski
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INĐIJA – The family goat farm with a dairy Select Milk in inđija, northern Serbia, is unique in Serbia and Europe because it markets one-hundred-per cent pure goats milk products regarded as “white gold” and is ready, if the state helps it, to export over 20 tons of top-quality goat cheese. The company’s owner and founder Milovan Bulatović told the House of Good News that the products on offer on the European market are a 40:60 mixture of goats’ and cow’s milk.
Top French and Russian experts have confirmed that Select Milk products are among the best in Europe. Besides the usual range of products, Select Milk recently offered the market a new range of products.
New Select Milk Products
Besides its usual range of products, which includes pasteurised goats milk, probiotic goat yoghurt, natural goat whey (natural, orange and tropic), ‘pikant’ cheese, semihard medium hard goat cheese, fresh goat cheese, recently offered the market new products – fresh goats cheese with and without dill, pickled fresh goat cheese, goat cheese in olive oil, as well as goat feta cheese.
“Goat feat cheese is a unique product on our market and cannot be bought anywhere in the region. The product’s name is protected in Greece, which produced goat feta, and we shall call ours Inđija or Srem goat feta”, Bulatović said.
It is hardly necessary to say anything about the importance of goat milk for the health of children, young people, people involved in sports, the recovery of convalescents, he added. “Our whey is a genuine medicine and cheaper than any juice children use in nurseries”. Our products are 100% pure. No additives have been used to extend the sell-by date, yet our cheeses last up to a year and a half”, Bulatović said.
Sochi – an Opportunity for Serbian Exports
The company expects to increase exports of its products to Russia, and recently opened an office in Moscow. They see a major opportunity for their own company, but also other exporters from Serbia, in the coming Winter Olympics, which will be held in Sochi from 7 to 23 February 2014, for which preparations have long been under way.
However, in order to find a place for itself on the large and choosy market, as well as the market of Kuwait, where Select Milk should realise exclusive exports of its products this month, Bulatović says the company needs a strategic partner, from Serbia or elsewhere, to help Select Milk in its mission.
According to Bulatović, if they manage to market their high-quality products to Sochi, it would help the competitors at the Olympics ensure a healthy diet.
Bulatović says a certificate for exports to the Russian market has already been obtained, Select Milk’s products passing very strict controls of the Russian sanitary inspectorate.
“If we get an opportunity to sell our products in Sochi, we should have to increase our current production five-fold to satisfy that market”, Bulatović said, adding that the company has the necessary capacities, processing between 10,000 and 11,000 litres of goats milk daily.
He says that increasing exports was the only way for the company to survive (in accordance with the incentives to the export-oriented measures for the Serbian economy announced by the new Serbian government). With the manner of payment and insolvency burdening the Serbian market, it is simply impossible to do business here, Bulatović added.
If we add the ‘alternating’ state policy in livestock breeding and the issuance of decrees every six months, as has been the case so far, it is difficult to plan any business in such circumstances.
“With the decrees issued in the past decade, we have brought Serbia to a situation in which livestock is being depleted and we could be left without cows,, sheep and pigs. If we continue in this manner for two years we shall continue importing milk products”, Bulatović opined, adding that the milk industry in Serbia has no future without the state paying an incentive of 15 to 20 dinars per litre of milk.
One Half Medicine, One Half Food
In order to increase the use of goats milk, which many have called ‘white gold’, it is necessary to educate the population about its importance for human health, the owner of Select Milk told us. But that is not something the company can do without the help of competent institutions. He said that there was already some form of co- operation with children’s nurseries, sports centres, clubs, health-care institutions, but that with the help of the state and society it could receive additional support, a good supply network could be made, everything for the better health of our children, sportsmen and women, the entire nation, Bulatović said, stressing that goats milk is ‘one half medicine and one half food’.
Goats milk is among the healthiest foodstuffs on offer among milk products. Since times immemorial it has been used on the entire planet not just as food but as an additional medium for treating various diseases, because it contains many proteins rich in essential amino-acids and a whole range of vitamins, and contains no fats which are hard to digest.
Goats milk is not just easier to digest than cows milk, but goats’ milk contains less lactose, so lactose-intolerant people can tolerate it more easily. Compared with cows milk, goats milk contains more vitamins, especially B6, and minerals (calcium), and lass calories.
Given that it is in the view of nutritionists close to perfect food and easy to digest, goats milk is also suitable for feeding babies. It is also excellent for older children, because it does not contain a certain type of protein which often provokes allergenic reactions in children.
Throughout the history of humankind, goats milk has been recommended for strengthening immunity, treating and strengthening the lungs, fighting tuberculosis, for treating the liver…
The House of Good News supports Select Milk’s idea about bringing goats milk into the diet of children and young people, and whey for convalescents from certain diseases. It could in the words of Mr. Bulatović be realised through a system of pre- school institutions and schools, in order to ensure healthy children, in the form of machines from which people in hospitals, other health-care institutions and schools could buy these products at favourable prices (if the state and our educational and health-care systems were to support the idea).
The advantages of the existence of a company like this on the Serbian market have been recognised by the Faculty of Agriculture in Novi Sad as well as the Vojvodina Province Secretariat for Science and New Technologies. The company received two favourable credits from the provincial government which it repaid not in five but in just two years. Select Milk repaid the credits earlier voluntarily, because we had nowhere to market our products”, said Bulatović, stressing that the company once again needed help, so that the entire project would not fail.
Quality Exceeds European Standards
Select Milk’s chief technologist and production manager Branislav Milić told the House of Good News that the company’s products were of top quality, evidenced by the international quality standards received, including the HACCP and HALAL standards.
“our entire production is based on controlling raw materials and production. Milk is controlled at the suppliers, during transport, in our tankers and on arrival. Out milk has 10,000 bacteria per millilitre, ten times better than the quality demanded by the European Union, Milić said.
What makes Select Milk so special – products without preservatives and additives, top class raw material. Our suppliers from whom we buy milk, as well as our own farm have special instructions regarding the health and feeding of goats (purely natural and controlled), the hygiene standards of breeding goats and the hygiene of milking them, and are under the permanent control of accredited laboratories.
It only from high-quality raw milk and exacting production standards can we get such high-quality products, sources in the company said.
Triple Elixir of Health
“Goats milk is excellent for digestion. The drops of milk fat are smaller in diametre, and are easier to digest”, Milić explained about the advantages of goats milk, adding that goats milk is “rich in essential proteins and amino-acids, and contributes to abetter mood”. He says Select Milk is the first dairy to process goats whey, which is a genuine elixir of health.
“There is no organ which is doesn’t affect positively, including the liver, kidneys, the heart, stomach… Our whey contains less than one per cent of milk fat, we add inulin as a probiotic and we add probiotic bacteria. This means that we have a triple elixir of health”, Milić said.
He says goats whey is irreplaceable for convalescents from surgery and adds tha most children’s food uses proteins which are found in goats whey, which are digested fast and are valuable energy-wise.
Select Milk was founded ten years ago. Everything began in Germany in 2003 when Bulatović bought in Germany a breading herd of 27 goats, which has now grown to about 670 goats and kids. Select Milk has its own fields for high-quality food for the goats mainly clover which is not sprayed or artificially fertilised, as well as corn, oats and barley, while sunflower and soy pellets, as additives, have a certificate that they are not GMOs.
Export to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republika Srpska, Macedonia and Montenegro began in March this year. Bulatović told us that this year some 200 goats had been exported to Montenegro, and by the end of 2012 between 10 and 150 goats would be exported to the Republika Srpska and Bosnia and Herzegovina. On the export market, Kuwait has expressed interest in the entire range of Select Milk products. Interest has also come from Japan, and that country’s ambassador to Serbia has visited the plant in Inđija to learn about its operations and possibilities of production and exports.
Good news for Select Milk would be if we could collect payments for what we produce. We have a large storehouse, and could manage the continuity of supply of large markets like Russia. More good news for us would be, if we were to enter those markets, we could secure advance payment, because doing business on the domestic market, where payment deadlines or 60 days are agreed, yet the money does not arrive even after 100 days, places us in a situation that we can only with difficulty resolve our material problems.
If we had normal payments conditions and a market in Serbia, we could increase the sizes of our herds with those farmers we co-operate with, says Bulatović, adding that livestock breeding in Serbia was in the worst situation in the past twenty years..
My grandfather lived for 103 years. He had three goats and plenty of milk, yoghurt, cheese and whey. We regularly had lamb for the family saint’s day, Easter, Christmas. He was a real gentleman. At the end of the Second World War, in Deliblatska peščara (now a national park) alone there were between 700,000 and 800,000 goats and sheep.
However, in Inđija nowadays we do not have the production of even a single litre of cows milk per resident, Bulatović said.
Agneza Trpkovski and Maja Jovanov
Source: House of Good News