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The important role of quality education in the sustainable development of dairy in China
Quality education is fundamental to ensure highly professional people throughout the dairy value chain, and guarantee the sustainable development of the dairy sector in China.
Alignment with SDGs
Ms. Meiju Liu, Vice Chairman of China Dairy Industry Association Chinese National Committee of IDF/ China Dairy Industry Association • China
In recent years, the dairy sector in China has made great progress, thanks to high-quality dairy products and growing market demand. However, per capita consumption of dairy products is still quite low. In addition, it has been identified that there are opportunities for the dairy processing sector to further reduce its environmental impact.
Research indicates that providing quality education on i) nutritional value of dairy products, and ii) the range of measures that can be taken to reduce environmental impact in dairy production is essential to ensuring the long-term sustainable development of the sector in China.
The aim is to address unhealthy consumption and production concepts and transform them into responsible and sustainable production concepts. There are multiple advantages to this approach. Firstly, quality education provides employees with professional technical knowledge, increasing their knowledge of environmental protection measures and product quality and safety. Quality education can also serve as a guide to consumers and farmers of the health benefits of dairy.
The aim of this initiative is to carry out systematic and whole-industry quality education for farmers and employees in all aspects from raw materials, processing to sales, thereby promoting the healthy, stable and sustainable development of Chinese dairy sector.
History of success
In the past 10 years, the China Dairy Industry Association held 50 training sessions and 10 annual conferences, benefiting 15,000 people and training more than 5,000 dairy professionals. In terms of universities, such as China Agricultural University, over the past decade, more than 7000 students studying dairy have been trained, involving more than ten dairy-related majors (such as animal science, food science and technology, food safety, etc.), more than 3,000 agricultural MBA students were sent to enterprises.
With the talents cultivated by quality education in the past 10 years serving all links within the dairy value chain, the dairy sector has developed rapidly. For example, the national dairy product output was 24.65 million tons in 2019, a year-on-year growth of 6.1%, the qualified rate of national supervision and random inspection increased from 98.3% in 2014 to 99.9% in 2018.
The value of the initiative
The whole dairy value chain (from raw milk farmers, industries, and sellers) will benefit.
Raw milk farmers: Through education on scientific and safety concepts, farmers can produce raw milk of high quality.
Industries and sellers: Training of senior employees in dairy processing plants can result in superior quality products and more effective company management, thereby increasing company benefits.
Consumers: By increasing knowledge on the nutritional value of dairy products, consumers can benefit more from the health benefits of dairy products.
Society and whole country: Increasing awareness of environmental protection will build a more sustainable developed country. Quality education cultivates professionals with the concepts of sustainable development; they apply the concept to production and whole dairy chain, building a more sustainable society.
Moving the wheel
China Dairy Industry Association has conducted training of product quality and safety for dairy quality inspectors and farmers, establishes international cooperation and training courses to cultivate management talents for dairy industries. The association also cooperates with many Chinese universities and research institutions.
For example, China Agricultural University has established the major in dairy science, training undergraduates and jointly training professional masters with Inner Mongolia MengNiu Dairy Group cooperation in the field of dairy sector. The University offers advanced students training projects (i.e., MBA in agriculture), graduates can provide management service for the dairy companies. In addition, projects like “Bull Elite” and “Science and Technology Institute in Farmland”, provide students and professionals with the opportunity to practice on-site in the factory, combine the theoretical knowledge with practise.
- Carry out systematic, whole dairy industry chain education including animal breeding to milk collection, processing, and sales, including basic education, vocational education, graduate education, enterprise training, and farmer training, executive training, industrial training for university professors.
- Pay special attention to environmental protection education, such as low-carbon production, wastewater discharge, and the establishment of a comprehensive environmental awareness
- Develop a more practice-oriented education for training professional technicians rather than university-based education.
- Focus on popular science education, such as people ’s nutrition and consumer education, and popularize people’s knowledge on dairy nutrition by using Internet, TV, media, etc.
- Pay attention to the continued professional development of enterprise personnel especially on eco-friendly practise.
- Cultivating safe operation education for farmers and local enterprises.
- Set a milk day, based on the “2030 Healthy China Plan” policy to promote people’s understanding of the dairy industry, and improve the content of the “Food Safety Law”.