University College Dublin signs MOU with leading Chinese Dairy Producer

Pictured at the signing in China of the MOU between UCD and leading Chinese dairy producer Dairy United are, l to r Julie Sinnamon, Executive Director, Enterprise Ireland; Professor Grace Mulcahy, Dean, UCD School of Veterinary Medicine, Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Mr Lee Zhenghong, General Manager, Dairy United. Photo credit: Gary O'Neill Photo
Pictured at the signing in China of the MOU between UCD and leading Chinese dairy producer Dairy United are, l to r Julie Sinnamon, Executive Director, Enterprise Ireland; Professor Grace Mulcahy, Dean, UCD School of Veterinary Medicine, Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Mr Lee Zhenghong, General Manager, Dairy UnitedPhoto credit: Gary O'Neill Photo

SHANGHAI, China and Dublin, Ireland 20 April 2012: University College Dublin (UCD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a leading Chinese dairy producer Dairy United.   The MOU which will result in multi-million euro contracts for products & services, envisages the development of a China-Ireland Agricultural demonstration farm in Hohhot, (Inner Mongolia) collaborative research projects, the provision of education, and training services, and collaboration on the creation of a trade corridor to facilitate the introduction of Irish exporters to the Inner Mongolian region.  The Dairy United/UCD link was established through contacts made by Enterprise Ireland over the past 18 months. 

The announcement was made during this week’s Food & Agri-services mission to China led by Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney T.D.

UCD will be collaborating with a number of Irish agricultural equipment and services companies to deliver an integrated package of education and training, research, services and technology to Dairy United.

Witnessing the signing of the MOU in Shanghai this morning the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney stated, “Food is the largest export sector for Irish industry.  We have developed a very strong reputation for quality products.  This has been achieved by a sustained investment by Irish companies in research and technology.  This excellence is recognised globally and provides a strong opportunity for the export of agriculture services & technology.”  

Commenting on the origins of the deal the UCD Dean of Agriculture and Food Science Professor Alex Evans stated “This partnership came about because of Ireland’s global reputation in dairy production and the ability of UCD and Irish agri-service companies to offer a complete solution, incorporating education, training, agricultural products and services, that meet Dairy United requirements and will form the basis of a long term relationship.”   

Julie Sinnamon, Executive Director of Enterprise Ireland, who is accompanying the Minister on the Food & Agri-Services mission, welcomed the MOU. She stated “ this MOU is the fruit of substantial work conducted in the past two years, between Dairy United and UCD, with the support of Enterprise Ireland. The MOU paves the way for a range of Enterprise Ireland client companies across the agri-services sector to provide world-class agri-technology and services to the China market

Professor Grace Mulcahy, Dean. UCD School of Veterinary Medicine, commented "This MOU paves the way for exciting developments in research, education and innovation that have the potential to be transformative for both parties.   I am really looking forward to helping to turn this vision into reality”.

Representing Dairy United, The General Manager, Mr Lee Zhenghong said, "I believe that this agreement will see an exciting programme of cooperation in dairy science research, education and trade between Ireland and China.  We are delighted to enter this agreement between Dairy United and University College Dublin."

The MOU envisages the establishment of the first China-Ireland demonstration farm in Hohhot Inner Mongolia province of China, for utilising agricultural and dairy equipment manufactured in Ireland. As part of the MOU UCD will undertake a series of research projects in Ireland and Inner Mongolia addressing the challenges of producing high quality dairy products in a sustainable and cost-effective manner in Inner Mongolia. UCD will deliver education and training for Dairy United staff, which will include the development of a programme in Quality Milk Production. Training will also include industry-led programmes on the use of partners’ technology for dairy production and food manufacture. Finally, the MOU will facilitate the introduction of Irish exporters to the Inner Mongolian region.

This MOU is recognition by Dairy United of the strength of Irish Food & Agri-Services education, research and technology.

ENDS

Contact 

Dominic Martella
UCD Media Relations

dominic.martella@ucd.ie
353 (0)1 716 1681
353 (0)87 2959118

Eileen Banks
Enterprise Ireland,
Press Officer

Eileen Banks
 01 7272805
087 2445814

Editors Notes

About the UCD - Dairy United MOU

Dairy United plan to use Irish companies to help them expand their dairy production in Inner Mongolia to produce milk to meet the growing demand in China. The MOU covers the establishment of the first China-Ireland demonstration farm in Hohhot utilising agricultural and dairy equipment manufactured in Ireland and operated to the highest international standards by Dairy United staff trained in Ireland. The facility will provide an exhibition and research centre for Irish farm machinery and dairy equipment and will provide equipment and technology for quality testing milk and dairy products to European standards.

UCD will develop a series of research projects in Ireland and Inner Mongolia addressing the challenges of producing high quality dairy products in a sustainable and cost-effective manner in Inner Mongolia. Research themes will include food safety, animal health agronomy, animal nutrition, animal reproduction, animal breeding and food processing. The research projects will utilise Dairy United’s infrastructure in Inner Mongolia, as well as an incubator site for dairy technology in the UCD Lyons Research Farm and UCD’s laboratory facilities including those of the School of Agriculture and Food Science, the School of Veterinary Medicine, and the School of Public Health.

A core element of the MOU is the provision of education and training for Dairy United staff including the development of a programme in Quality Milk Production, delivered by UCD and FRS, customised to emphasise the training of trainers and coaches in Ireland who will then train field staff on the farms in Inner Mongolia. The agreement also covers the potential for training veterinarians and agricultural scientists in UCD with emphasis on food safety and dairy production, and the development of a module in intensive dairy production systems based at Dairy United as an elective module for UCD Dairy Business Degree students, Animal Science students, Animal and Crop production students,  and Veterinary Medicine students, where appropriate.

The MOU also envisages industry-led training programmes on the use of technology for dairy production and food manufacture that are aimed at practical scenarios and the use of industry in education programmes with work placements for Inner Mongolian participants in Irish companies and for Irish students in Inner Mongolia where available.

The final element of the MOU is the establishment of a trade corridor to facilitate the introduction of Irish exporters in particular those that manufacture technology and equipment used in dairy production or dairy products such as milk powders and other relevant manufacturers to the Inner Mongolian region.

About Dairy United

The Inner Mongolia Dairy United Co. (referred as Dairy United) was founded in 2004 and is a leading firm specialising in dairy production and processing in China.

Dairy United has total assets of €75m and operates 15, 1000 cow dairy farms supported by over 2,000 ha of forage production land. Dairy United is currently undertaking an expansion strategy which will see it invest €360m over then next 5 years for the construction of another 35, 1000 cow dairy farms and a modern dairy processing factory. On the completion of the expansion strategy by 2015, Dairy United will have 50 dairy farms with 100,000 dairy cattle and 20,000 ha of forage producing land, and the factory will have a daily fresh milk processing capacity of 500 tons.

Dairy United wishes to maximize their return on investment and are seeking to improve the operation, management and performance of their farms with standardised operating systems and equipment and with regular analysis of the financial results. To make this model successful, their focus is on training young people to operate their farms and manage livestock to the highest international standards.

The provincial government is keen to support these developments by providing land and the infrastructure for water supply and electricity.

About the Chinese Dairy Market

According to Datamonitor the Chinese dairy market was worth €12.5 billion in 2009. The market is expected to grow at a compound rate of 8.9% p.a. over the next five years to a value of $25.2 billion by the end of 2014.

The Chinese Dairy Industry is expected to change dramatically in the coming years. The melamine crisis has put more emphasis on raw milk quality. To produce better milk quality the size of the farms has to increase, the management of the farms has to be improved and the quality control in the whole dairy chain has to be improved.

About Inner Mongolia Province

Hohhot is the capital and the administrative, economic and cultural centre of Inner Mongolia province (pop. 25M), and is called the dairy capital of China. Inner Mongolia is China’s largest milk producing province accounting for around 20% of the cows and 25% of the total Chinese milk production. Inner Mongolia has a strong tradition of milk production and has a good climate and the resources to produce milk (18 million ha of grassland). Much of the dairy-processing infrastructure is new; processors have expanded rapidly and are highly respected in China. Two of the largest milk processing companies in China, Mengniu and Yili, are based there and the local government is focused on expanding the dairy industry.

About University College Dublin (UCD)

University College Dublin (UCD) is the leading university in Ireland providing education and research on the complete food chain from on-farm production through to food processing and human nutrition in the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, and the only Irish university providing education and research in veterinary medicine in the UCD School of Veterinary Medicine. The University has major strengths in animal production, nutrition and reproduction, the management of dairy enterprises and in dairy herd health. Crop production, horticulture, forestry applied agri-environmental sciences, food science, food safety, human nutrition, agribusiness and rural development complete the full range of agri-food related programmes delivered by the University.