On Sunday 23 March in Noordwijk, the Chinese dairy concern Yili Dairy Group and Wageningen UR signed an agreement to work together on promoting efficient, healthy and environment-friendly dairy production in China. The Chinese President, Xi Jinping, was on a state visit to the Netherlands. The official signing took place in Noordwijk in the presence of H.M. King Willem-Alexander and the President.
The agreement was signed by CEO at Yili Pan Gang and Professor Martin Kropff, vice chairman of the Executive Board of Wageningen UR (University & Research centre). It represents the first step in collaboration in the field of technological innovations in the dairy sector, aiming to improve production and the production methods of dairy producers in China.
In his address, King Willem-Alexander referred to the cooperation between Yili and Wageningen UR as a good example of how China and Nederland can work together: with a focus on innovation in a field that is important to both countries, and in which the Netherlands currently leads the world in terms of knowledge and expertise.
The Chinese President Xi Jinping claimed that innovation in the agro-sector is one of the highest priorities for encouraging economic growth in China.
Minister Lilianne Ploumen (Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation), who also delivered a speech at the event, stressed the importance of cooperation: ‘The reliability, quality and innovative power of our dairy industry has won huge international acclaim. Using this position on an international platform will help us to create growth and jobs in the Netherlands. The expertise at Wageningen UR has an important role in this respect.’
Earlier this year, on 25 February, Yili (Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co., Ltd) opened a European R&D centre on Wageningen Campus. Yili and Wageningen UR took this opportunity to set out the details of their institutional and scientific cooperation in the field of dairy farming, dairy production and food safety.
The agreement signed on Sunday, which specifies five concrete projects due to be launched this year, is a direct result of this new collaboration. Project themes include applying ‘big data collection’ for food safety, setting up a milk bank and manure processing technology on large-scale livestock farms. In addition to the five major projects, other projects will also be formulated and initiated. Yili has set aside a fund of € 1 million for the first five projects.