Growth in global population creates opportunities for young dairy farmers

14 January 2012

The need to feed the rapidly growing global population is creating plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs in dairy farming and dairy industry. The demand for nutrient-rich food in particular is expected to rise. “The best opportunities are open to dairy farmers who produce high-quality milk through the efficient use of minerals and energy, generating public support. To gain a strong position in the market, these farmers need a powerful co-operative more than ever before.” This was the message delivered by Piet Boer, Chairman of the FrieslandCampina co-operative, at a FrieslandCampina Young Farmers’ Day on Saturday, 14 January. FrieslandCampina CEO, Cees ’t Hart, added: ‘Food is hot, dairy’s cool and FrieslandCampina is the key to benefitting from both.’

‘The food challenge: opportunities for your milk in the world’ was the theme of the conference, which attracted over 800 dairy farmers.
“We can produce enough food for nine billion people in the future. But innovation and intensification is required. Food should be produced where it does best. At that point you as a Dutch dairy farmer have a big advantage”, was told by keynote speaker, Louise Fresco, Professor of Food and Sustainability at Amsterdam University. She also said: “Milk is a food for thousands of years and is an important source of protein in the diet. In the future, new opportunities couldl arise for milk.”

Nutrient security
Everybody needs to take sufficient nutrients on board. Therefore, according to CEO, Cees ’t Hart, it’s more about nutrient security than food security. Since milk contains many essential nutrients, dairy occupies a strong position in this context. “Cows produce this nutrient-rich food from grass and other vegetable matter which we humans can’t digest”, Mr ‘t Hart said.

Chairman of the Co-operative, Piet Boer, emphasised for this reason that the best opportunities are open to ‘modern production cycle managers’ who produce milk through the efficient use of energy and minerals. Of course, they need to do so in a way that generates public support and acceptance.

Dairy farmers need to build a strong market position if they are to convert milk into money. “Together, dairy farmers can create this powerful cooperation. And that means developing and applying ideas together, jointly financing initiatives, jointly occupying market positions and ultimately sharing the fruits of their combined success”, added Piet Boer.

Familiar face in growth regions
During the Young Farmers’ Day, the dairy farmers heard from FrieslandCampina managers from China, Nigeria, Russia and the Benelux about the food challenge in these specific regions.
“We are a global player and are already a familiar face in growth regions. We’ve been active for over half a century in Nigeria, and some 90 years in Indonesia”, said CEO, Cees ‘t Hart. He emphasised that FrieslandCampina had everything that is needed to exploit the opportunities in the market. “We know the local consumers there, their preferences and we are successful at marketing our dairy outside the domestic market. Our competitors have obviously identified the same opportunities, but as well as decades of experience, FrieslandCampina has a unique chain that stretches from grass to glass. This chain stands for quality, food safety and sustainability. Our route2020 strategy provides an excellent springboard for continued value growth.”