Plan promotes “sustainable dairy”

10:05 | 03/01/2013
With Vietnam’s dairy industry only able to satisfy 25 per cent of domestic demand for milk products, local authorities are working with the Netherlands-backed FrieslandCampina Vietnam to develop a “sustainable dairy farming area” as urbanisation threatens the industry.

The plan is for the creation FrieslandCampina Vietnam FCV has somewhat jokingly dubbed  “cowmunities”- but the threat posed by urbanisation to dairy is no laughing matter.

Perhaps better known by its brand Dutch Lady, FCV is working with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and various provincial authorities in a bid to promote and modernise the nation’s dairy industry.

The objective is of  the ‘sustainable dairy farming area’ model, company officials say, is to match the development conditions of Vietnamese agriculture, rural areas and farmers to a more advanced level of the dairy development programme (DDP) that FCV has expedited in the country in the past 16 years, moving from simply assisting farmers with dairy farming to promoting practices that are more economically and environmentally sustainable.  

“FCV will take part in training to better skills and knowledge of farmers in the project sites,”  said Luu Van Tan, who is in charge of the dairy industry development at FCV.

The company, Tan said, would also “inject capital in building up in-the-spot milk quality control and purchasing systems, provide training courses to enhance skills of local veterinary and technical services provision staff, in the meantime assisting local governments with governing, supervising and setting development orientations of local cow herds.”

Vietnamese dairy farming is mainly family-based in areas that surround urban and semi-urban centres that possess sufficient conditions for raising milk cows. But in the face of rapid urbanisation, the profit that land users have earned from growing grass to feed cows has become modest, prompting them take on other more profitable businesses.

FCV initiated the sustainable dairy farming area—the “cowmunity”—by  proposing dairy farming development follow the household model in areas compatible to the development of dairy and associated supporting industries. It seeks government support through long-term planning and appropriate supportive legal corridor.

Under the project, stakeholder farmers will be trained in advanced breeding technique as well as quality control and farm management skills to boost productivity, better product quality, save costs and hike profits which are important factors to have them totally devoted to the job.

Towards this goal, FCV says there needs to be a comprehensive plan with explicit details, suitable steps, government supportive policies and multi-side participation from the government, businesses and farmers, ensuring long-term benefits to relevant stakeholders.

The project’s most eminent feature, which makes it highly feasible, is that it strictly adheres to the principle ‘voluntary cooperation for mutual long-term benefits’ and operates under the public-private partnership model with tripartite contributions, from the government, private companies and local farmers.

Accordingly, stakeholder individuals and entities team up to create shared values leveraged on their advantages which in return will bring them due dividends.

In the ‘cowmunity’ plan, every stakeholder including farmers, animal feed suppliers, technical and veterinary staff, associated service providers, banks, lenders and milk producers need to invest, make constant strides to better productivity, quality and efficiency to have a post in the value chain. This model helps elevate production and business efficiency of all stakeholders through providing stable input and output sources and mutual support.

Farmers join the project through contributing labour, capital and land to set up farms. They will be trained in basic dairy breeding skills and supported by FCV in advisory and supervision to ensure farm standards, gradually hiking productivity and product quality, saving costs, from there raising their income levels.

The products will be sold directly to FCV’s on the spot milk purchasing system, ensuring stable and quality material supply source to the milk factory.

The project beneficiaries are not only dairy farmers but also all economic elements in relevant localities as dairy farmers and cultivation households use diverse services like seeds, breeds, technical, veterinary, harvesting, processing services, agricultural machineries, capital and training, thus bringing the development of associated services while also mobilising local human resources.

To have many such ‘cowmunities’ in place, the participation of the government, particularly the MARD, Department of Animal Husbandry, local governments and competent state agencies is essential, FCV says. The state will assist in presenting suitable incentives in land, planning, capital, tax, legal corridor, investment regulations and financing the project infrastructure.

FCV’s Tan said the company and several Netherlands’ professional organisations like the project consultation and management firm Fresh Studio, Wagenigen University & Research and cattle feed supplier De Heus had been the project’s active players.


By Nguyen Hang

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