Higher output, better quality and more efficient methods of production. This is the wish list on the table as FrieslandCampina and Wageningen UR engage in knowledge exchange with China Agricultural University (CAU).
Last week Wageningen UR signed an agreement with dairy company FrieslandCampina and CAU on setting up a joint dairy expertise centre. The agreement was signed in the presence of Dutch premier Mark Rutte by director of FrieslandCampina Cees ’t Hart, president of CAU Ke Bingsheng, and Aalt Dijkhuizen. The signing of the agreement took place during the Dutch trade mission to the Far East. One of the Wageningers who will make the collaboration a reality is account manager Paul Geurts. He notices that Chinese livestock farmers operate very differently to their Dutch counterparts. ‘They have much less grassland, for instance, and they import a lot of concentrated feed from Mongolia and New Zealand. That is expensive, so the cost price of Chinese milk is now higher than that of Dutch milk.’ There is room for improvement in the cooperation in the chain, too, says Geurts. Currently there is very little exchange of information between feed suppliers and dairy factories.
‘With our value chain thinking, we have a unique message,’ says Atze Schaap of FrieslandCampina. ‘We already start thinking on the dairy farm about what should come out at the end of the dairy chain. Our quality-mindedness is a product of cooperation in the chain. People are not used to that in China, but we have 140 years of experience of it.’