Tetra Pak and DeLaval, sister companies in the Tetra Laval Group, today signed a five year agreement with the Dairy Association of China to provide training to Chinese dairy farm managers. The signing ceremony was attended by both the Chinese and Swedish Ministers of Agriculture, who have a Memorandum of Understanding to increase co-operation in agriculture.
Since 2008, the Chinese government has been driving a transition from household farming activities, involving just a handful of cows, to medium- or large-sized farms, which have more than 100 milk-producing cows. Their aim is to improve farming efficiency, increase product quality and enhance standards of animal welfare. By 2020, the government hopes to raise the proportion of dairy cows reared on such farms to 60%, compared with 45% today. However, a shortage of qualified managers, capable of running operations of this scale, threatens to prevent them from achieving that ambition.
Through the agreement signed today, 150 managers will be trained during the next five years, providing them with the skills required to run larger-scale dairy farms.
Professor Li Shengli, Professor of the China Agricultural University and Chief Scientist of Dairy Farming engaged by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture said, “China’s liquid milk consumption is still low, at less than 20 litres per capita. This is approximately half the average consumption in Asia, and one fifth the average in Europe. However, rising disposable income, combined with people’s desire to improve their quality of life, means the size and growth potential of the domestic market is huge; China must develop its own dairy farming industry”.
“We are happy to see that Tetra Pak and DeLaval are taking the initiative to help us bridge the skill gap in the Chinese farming sector. Once trained, these individuals will be able to share their knowledge with their peers and, in turn, help raise the standard of farming in China,” he added.
The training programme covers many different areas of dairy farm management, including breeding, nutrition and disease prevention. It will be delivered through lectures at the China Agricultural University, a two-month internship at a model farm in China, and culminate in the opportunity to visit and study at DeLaval’s Hamra farm and other dairy farms in Sweden.
Commenting on the agreement, Tetra Pak CEO, Dennis Jönsson said, “This is a demonstration of our commitment to China. For more than 30 years we have been working with the Chinese government to help grow the dairy industry sustainably. China is in an exciting new phase of development in dairy farming and as an industry leader, we have a key role to play in improving performance.”
DeLaval CEO Joakim Rosengren said: “At DeLaval we are committed to creating sustainable food production. Our operations in China and co-operation with Tetra Pak means we have been able to help develop the dairy industry over the years. This agreement demonstrates that all parties are committed to China and that we are on the right tracks. We look forward to continuing along this path so that we can help dairy business managers thrive sustainably under the best conditions possible”.
Tetra Pak and DeLaval have been working hand-in-hand on dairy farming projects in China since 2003. Their first collaboration sought to upgrade farms that provided raw milk to China’s School Feeding Programme; by 2014, all 194 farms involved in the project had reached EU quality standards. The companies’ joint efforts also include developing virtual training to farmers through TV programmes and the free distribution of educational DVDs and booklets.