On Monday 27 August 2012, Agriterra Director Kees Blokland and FrieslandCampina’s Corporate Director Communication and Sustainability Affairs Frank van Ooijen signed a cooperation agreement. Agriterra and FrieslandCampina have already been working together within the Dairy Development Program for some time now. The present agreement formalises their partnership and extends it to Southeast Asia and Nigeria.
Agriterra works for the benefit of rural development in developing countries. It sees the agricultural sector as the engine of the economy and is therefore keen to support enterprising farmers and horticulturalists. The aim is to help boost growth and development and hence reduce poverty. These goals tie in perfectly with FrieslandCampina’s Dairy Development Program. Frank van Ooijen: ‘By working together within a CSR partnership, we can strengthen each other’s activities. FrieslandCampina can use its knowledge of cooperatives, dairy farms and milk processing to generate precious added value. Agriterra has considerable country-related knowledge and its extensive network helps us to build and maintain client contacts.’
The idea of teaming up with Agriterra came from Jan Drenthen, Senior Project Manager, and Lieuwe Montsma, Technological Valorisation Manager, at FrieslandCampina. Jan and Lieuwe have already been out ‘on mission’ with Agriterra. They have visited local dairy farmers and passed on their knowledge to them. They regard the formalisation of the collaborative partnership as a positive step and see considerable potential in combining Agriterra with the Dairy Development Program. Sybren Attema, who oversees the implementation of the Dairy Development Program, also recognises the potential of the partnership. ’The program helps farmers in Asia and Africa, which is precisely where Agriterra was already active and has its network. A combination of the activities of both organisations therefore feels like a logical step. Our combined knowledge can help Asian and African dairy farmers to produce far more efficiently.’
Employees and member farmers
The plan is to get FrieslandCampina employees and member farmers involved in the Dairy Development Program. Attema: ‘Each year, around 15 volunteers will spend a couple of weeks in Asia or Africa, to transfer knowledge to local farmers in a highly practical way.’