Island Briefs: Dairy Finds Whey into Chinese Market, Ruhnu Referendum ({{commentsTotal}})

A Saaremaa dairy has been working with one of Estonia's biggest cheese producers toward getting whey powder approved for the Asian market.

The chairman of the board of AS Saaremaa Piimatööstus, Andi Saagpakk, told Saarte Hääl that all of the tests have been completed. Once paperwork is out of the way, the first shipment could reach China this year.

Last year, the cheese producer, E-Piim, became the first company in the Baltics to produce high-quality demineralized whey powder (Demin 90), used in infant formula. The operation is centred on a facility in central Estonia.

Entry to the China market has been complicated since the 2008 melamine contamination scandal.

E-Piim has invested 5.5 million euros in the whey powder production line, including EU funding. The payback period is pegged at just three years.


The municipality council on Ruhnu, Estonia's most distant island, has announced a referendum on April 10 on whether taxpayers should pay for taxi service for Ruhnu's 150 islanders.

Saaremaa and its capital Kuressaare are the closest transport hub connecting Ruhnu islanders to the outside world. But the port where they disembark, Roomassaare, is located away from Kuressaare. Taxi service for transporting Ruhnu people between port and capital costs 1,500 to 2,000 euros a year.

"It may seem wasteful for Ruhnu municipality to pay for taxi service, but if the plane [between Saaremaa and mainland] stops at Kiressaare only two hours, taxi saves time compared to taking a bus," said the mayor, Aare Sünter.