August 30, 2016
China wants to raise its dairy consumption, saying it lags behind the global and Asian average.
At a weekend conference, Chinese Agriculture Minister Han Changfu said the country's dairy sector was not up to its potential, with its per capita dairy consumption rates only a third of the global average and only half the Asian average, Reuters reported.
"For the people's wellbeing, to increase rural employment, and to guarantee the supply of important agricultural products, we must strongly develop the dairy sector," Han said.
With over 1 million dairy farmers, 10 million dairy cows and hundreds of dairy enterprises, China's dairy industry, according to Han, "is big but not strong".
He also pointed out the sector's need for product standardisation and more recognisable and competitive brands.
Food-safety issues have hounded the sector following the deaths of six babies and illnesses of thousands of others in 2008 after they had been fed with infant formula produced by leading domestic dairy firm Sanlu Group, which was found to contain melamine.
Han, however, claimed that product quality has improved, with 99.3% of fresh milk and 99.5% of milk products passing quality inspections in 2015, according to Reuters.