Sino-Dutch Dairy Center Opens to Improve Quality and Technology

Nov. 18 – The Sino-Dutch Dairy Development Center will help China’s dairy industry make safer and higher quality products, said experts and officials attending an opening ceremony for the center on Saturday. The center will also set up a demonstration dairy farm in Beijing to introduce advanced technology to China, according to Dutch experts.

Sino-Dutch dairy center is founded by the China Agricultural University, The Netherlands Wageningen University and Dutch dairy company FrieslandCampina to improve China’s dairy chain by sharing Dutch expertise through training farmers and students. It will open a demonstration dairy farm in Beijing to introduce advanced technology.

There is a rapid rise in the import of dairy products in to China in recent years. The reason for that are the frequent safety events of domestic dairy products cause the trust crisis, and dependence of consumers on imported dairy products continuously increases; because of the short supply of raw milk in China, demand for milk powder import significantly expands; the continuous rise in raw milk prices at home and import cost advantages prompt the significant increase in milk powder import; new national standards on the safety of dairy products are conductive to expanding dairy product import.

Quality is almost an obsession in China’s post-melamine dairy industry, from strict quarantine to rigorous testing. But unlike the Fonterra contamination, which happened during processing, in China, the problem often lies at the source — the raw milk. As industry veteran Qin Heping says, if the raw milk is good, the rest is easy.

But at 30,000 Yuan for one of these Holsteins, dairy farming is expensive and takes years to pay off — that’s why Ground dairy is using profits from its property development business to offset the cost pressures. “Dairy is a livelihood industry, the government should help improve technology, offer long term support to dairy farming,” said Qin Heping, general manager of Ground Dairy Industry. “The subsidies are not enough, need companies to invest, need co-operatives, family farms, help them modernize,” said Song Liang, dairy analyst from Distribution Productivity Promotion Center.

The cows here can only supply half of Ground dairy’s needs. Plans are in place to replicate the farms elsewhere in Jilin. Investors are seeing the potential. Fonterra, the kiwi dairy giant, has built a number of dairy farms in China. Mengniu is lifting its stake in China’s biggest dairy farming company, Modern Dairy. “The biggest gap between China’s dairy industry and world’s best practice — is in the raw milk. There aren’t enough services, like vaccination, quarantine, we need more professional managers and cattle caretakers. In terms of dairy processing, there’s no apparent gap between China and the rest of the world,” Song Liang said.

That gap is closing fast as China’s dairy industry goes increasingly international — Ground has French and American partners, all of China’s major dairy companies have several tie-ups and investments overseas and more co-operation ahead. For “China Dairy Industry and Market Report 2013-2015”available upon request, contact with DCCC, or mail to: info@dccchina.org