CHINA - Following some food safety scandals in China, the public there lost their trust in the food supply chain but Swiss-based food company, Nestlé, is helping to regain that trust, Jackie Linden reports.
Nestlé is striving to ensure supply of dairy products are maintained for the future, explained Dr Dionys Forster, one of the company’s Raw Materials Sourcing specialists.
Dr Foster was speaking at the Nutreco AgriVision conference held 17-18 June in the Netherlands.
Growing urbanisation and incomes in China are helping to push rapid growth in the demand for dairy products, and this in turn will mean that the country will have to import either the milk or feedstuffs such as soya, corn and hay from other countries.
At the same time, China’s rural workforce is declining.
Recognising these food security challenges ahead, Nestlé set up the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Nestle (SAIN) 15 years ago to promote the sustainable use of the world’s natural resources through sustainable intensification.
Dr Forster explained that in October 2014, the Nestlé Dairy Farming Institute was opened in Shuangcheng in Heilongjiang province in north-east China. Set up with partners representing the feed, genetics and equipment sectors, the Institute offers training courses of varying length to the country’s farmers, managers and workers of the future, alongside farms teaching the necessary practical skills. In its first six months, 350 people received training there on all aspects of sustainable dairy production.
The Institute joins the company’s Dairy Farm Connect initiative, which involves almost 400,000 dairy farmers in 29 countries around the world. They supply milk to one of its 63 processing plants and more than 148,000 have received training to improve their skills.
The company has similar schemes for coffee and cocoa farmers.
These developments are part of a new approach taken by Nestlé involving collaboration, cooperation and partnership to support more sustainable farming, Dr Forster concluded.