New Sino-Dutch research and development centre to improve Chinese dairy

16 November 2013

China Agricultural University (CAU), Wageningen UR (University and Research Centre) and Dutch dairy company FrieslandCampina, today signed an agreement to establish a China-based Sino-Dutch Dairy Development Centre (SDDDC). The centre will focus on improving dairy production, safety and quality levels throughout the entire dairy chain in China by sharing Dutch dairy expertise with Chinese experts and decision makers in dairy research and the dairy industry. The agreement was signed in the presence of the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte.

Dutch Prime Minister Rutte said: “As a large political and economic global player, China is currently is the process of major reform. That is why this is the perfect time to strengthen our mutual ties.”

The new Centre will bring together the shared knowledge and experience of all three parties and ties in with the Dutch government’s Top Sector Policy and the Chinese central governments’ aim to foster cooperation between the private sector and academic institutions.

The three partners envisage the SDDDC to become a research, knowledge and training institute with its own premises and research equipment, staffed by experts in the field of dairy development. The SDDDC is designed to improve dairy production, safety and quality throughout the dairy chain in China by sharing Dutch dairy expertise based on over a century of experience with Chinese experts and decision makers in dairy research and the dairy industry.

Challenges
At present, China’s dairy market is facing major challenges. China is experiencing growing demand for dairy products. At the same time, the limited availability of arable land requires acceleration of the transformation of the dairy sector from a quantity-oriented to a quality-focused model. That is why it is key is to improve the milk yield and milk quality. Besides food quality and food safety have become the main challenges for China.

Research and knowledge sharing
During its first three years, the SDDDC will carry out high-profile research projects in China into current Chinese dairy production, safety and quality, as well as sustainability. The SDDDC will also set up a Dairy Expertise Centre in which the latest safety and quality systems and technologies will be put into practice on a Chinese model farm. Chinese delegations will be invited to the Netherlands to see how the Dutch dairy industry works and interact with Dutch research institutes and governmental institutions. An academic exchange and training program will also be launched.

Dr. Li Shengli,  Professor of Dairy Science in CAU and Chief Scientist of the National Dairy Industry & Technology System, “Dairy is a rapidly developing industry with great potential. A series of policies have already been made to support its further development in China. For the next stage, the dairy industry will move from focusing mainly on increasing productivity to further improving quality, safety and efficiency as well. We believe that by establishing the SDDDC, both countries can benefit through advancing dairy nutrition, milk quality control, dairy product processing and training. The dairy industry in China is at an important stage, the cooperation within the SDDDC will bring together the strengths of CAU, Wageningen UR and FrieslandCampina for our mutual benefit and that of the industry.”

Dr. KE Bingsheng, CAU President says, “Facing the development of dairy market and industry, CAU is devoted to contribute to the country and society, especially for the enhancement of milk quality and feed conversion efficiency. The mission of CAU is about health and nutrition, cultivating talents, innovating technology, contributing to the society. The establishment of SDDDC fits into CAU’s ambition to contribute to dairy research and industry development in China by learning from the Dutch experience.”

Dr. Aalt Dijkhuizen, president and chairman of Wageningen UR, said: “The success of the Dutch dairy industry is the product of sound entrepreneurship, innovative science and close cooperation throughout the chain. It has enabled farmers and the dairy industry to produce safe and healthy products in a sustainable and economically viable way. Wageningen UR is proud to share its knowledge with partners all over the world and to work in joint projects with businesses and governments to contribute to a better quality of life of the growing world population.”

Close co-operation
Cees ‘t Hart, CEO of Royal FrieslandCampina, added: “China is set to become the world’s largest and most important market for dairy. It is therefore important to fully utilize its potential to produce more milk that meets the highest safety and quality standards. The Netherlands’ ‘From Grass to Glass’ approach is the cornerstone of guaranteed safety and quality. Close co-operation between governments, universities and companies has proven to be a key success factor. FrieslandCampina is pleased to be able to share its 140 years’ experience in dairy farming and production with its Chinese partners through the Sino-Dutch Development Centre.”