These programme participants came from roles such as food safety, manufacturing, marketing and research, said Sarah Xu, Dairy Australia international marketing manager.
"[What these participants get is a] vital understanding and new appreciation of what makes Aussie dairy the best in the world, including Australia's quality assurance and food safety systems,” said Xu.
“[They] leave the country with a solid understanding of the entire dairy supply chain."
The participants visited both dairy farms and processing facilities like Freedom Foods, Bega, Chobani, and more.
The Dairy Australia Greater China Scholarship Programme has been running since 1998, and seen hundreds of participants graduate from the programme.
“[The programme provides] education of the dairy process from farm to factory, Australian food safety systems and food standards, liquid milk processing, dairy product tasting, cheese making, functionality and applications,” said Dairy Australia.
“[Participants also get to] visit dairy factories and farms, as well as meet key company export contacts.”
Mengniu Dairy Cheese R&D Supervisor Yan Qingquan was one of the participants, saying to Australian Dairy Farmer that: “Dairy Australia's programme was a good opportunity for me to step up and work further towards [my goal of building the cheese market in China].”
Besides China, Dairy Australia also conducts scholarship programmes for industry participants from Japan, Taiwan, Korea and across Southeast Asia.
Dairy Australia is Australia’s national services body for the dairy industry.
Australia’s dairy trade relationship with China
Greater China (China, Hong Kong, Macau) is Australia’s largest dairy export market, according to Dairy Australia. It accounts for 24% of exports by volume, making up over 1420 tons of products worth over US$ 3.8bn (A$ 5.3bn).
Exports to Greater China increased by 29.8% in just five years. By volume, the top export from Australia to the region is milk (49%), followed by skim milk powder (15%) and cheese (13%), as per the Dairy Australia Market Brief (Greater China) 2016.
The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA), enforced in December 2015, reduced tariff rates for all dairy products. These rates will ‘step down each January from 2016, until being abolished in 2026’.
Asia as a whole is a major dairy export destination for Australia. The region accounted for over 80% of dairy export value in 2016/17.
In the 2016-2017 period, the top five export markets (by value) for Australia dairy were: Greater China, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia.
“This concentration of exports in Asia reflects both Australia's geographic proximity to these markets and the extent to which Australia has been excluded from other major markets by direct restrictions (as in the case of the European Union) or the impact of increased export volumes from competitor countries,” said Dairy Australia.
“Asian markets have considerable potential for consumption growth as incomes rise and diets become more “westernised”, and Australian dairy companies have proven track records in supplying these market.”