Report Synopsis

China Dairy: The Growth of an Industry

Bede O'Connor

China is currently the most important market to the New Zealand Dairy Industry. I first visited in 2014 and soon realised there were some large differences to the information New Zealand Dairy Farmers believed to what was actually happening on the ground in China.

Rapid development was occurring in the Chinese Dairy Industry and the potential for a significant increase in production through minimal improvements was apparent. Knowing the Chinese people had the ability to modernise industry rapidly, I felt there was a potential threat to the New Zealand Dairy Industry; my livelihood.

On reflection, China will struggle to meet growing demand internally due to factors such as poor management, substandard feed quality and increasing environmental pressures.

Barriers to rectifying these problems will be faced by the Chinese Dairy Farmer through Chinese consumer pressure for sustainable on-farm practices such as reducing the environmental impacts of housed dairy operations.

New Zealand can capitalise on this by increasing the amount of due diligence on the analysis of risk in China.

New Zealand needs to beware that the threat to export markets is not only from internal Chinese production, but also from that of their European counterparts. New Zealand needs to clearly differentiate their products by becoming Genetic Engineering (GE) Free.

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