One of the main benefits of the IDF World Dairy Summit is the opportunity it presents to bring the sector together to discuss what the future holds for dairy, and how we, as representatives of the sector can help to shape it. I firmly believe that if we as a dairy sector have a bold ambition for ourselves and we work collaboratively, we can overcome the challenges that are currently facing our sector and have a bright and optimistic future.

An old teacher of mine once said “One person’s challenges are another’s opportunity.” I believe within the dairy sector we are strong enough to take our challenges and turn them into opportunities. That’s not to belittle our challenges. They’re tough. One of the biggest challenges that we have is feeding the world’s growing population within our planetary boundaries. Over the last year, you will have seen numerous reports criticizing animal agriculture and recommending reductions due to climate change. Very few of these reports recognize that we cannot have true food security without dairy products.

Putting the case for dairy forward

The truth is we cannot truly nourish populations without dairy products. Many of the people who live in extreme poverty in this world live in rural areas. For them, having animals are a pathway to nutrition for their families every day; to economic security every day; and therefore, a way out of poverty, starvation and malnutrition.

We all know that dairy contributes to national economies, to global economies, to individual livelihoods, to food security, to nutrition. It is our role as a community to put the case for dairy forward. Now we fully recognize that all food production comes at a cost. We have said it many times in many places, but as a dairy sector we have been taking responsibility for our environmental footprint for several years and we continue to improve.

IDF: Global dairy expertise since 1903

Since its inception in 1903 the IDF has helped to lead the world in shaping the environment that dairy operates in. We have expertise in a vast array of areas from farm to fork, whether in nutrition, environment, marketing, food safety and quality, farm management, animal welfare standards, and many more areas. We are a formidable organization due to our expertise due to our partnerships and our unique structure that allows us to achieve global consensus.

With the recent addition of two more countries to IDF, Russia and Kenya, we represent over 75% of the world’s milk supply. And we encourage other delegations into the IDF community. We value all of our partners, but I will single out Codex, FAO, GASL and ISO as organisations that have worked collaboratively with the IDF and its community for many, many years – and we hope they will continue to do so.

As we say goodbye to Istanbul 2019 and look ahead to the World Dairy Summit 2020 in Cape Town South Africa, I look forward to working with you all as we continue to shape a sustainable future for dairy.

Watch the introductory speech by Dr Judith Bryans