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School milk programmes driving developing dairy industry growth – Tetra Pak

By Mark Astley , 25-Sep-2012

School children in China.
School children in China.

The introduction of school milk programmes in developing nations is driving dairy industry growth, processing and packaging giant Tetra Pak has claimed.

According to the Switzerland-based company, school milk programmes encourage investment in and expansion of dairy capabilities, and drive economic growth in under-developed communities by guaranteeing milk demand.

Through its Food for Development Office (FfDO), Tetra Pak works closely with governments, development agencies, NGOs and local dairy processors and farmers to support school milk programmes and dairy industry development.

To-date, the firm has worked with authorities in a number of emerging markets, including China, Kenya, Turkey and India.

The introduction of these programmes has even led to increased attendance at those schools that benefit.

Economic benefits

Tetra Pak spokesperson Linda Bernier told DairyReporter.com that governments in these developing nations are beginning to see the benefit of introducing school milk programmes – nutritionally, educationally, and economically.

“More governments we speak to are recognising the economic benefits as well as the nutritional benefits of these school milk programmes,” said Bernier.

“We are finding now that sponsorship for these school milk programmes is coming from a country’s Ministry of Agriculture as well its Ministry of Education. Both are seeing real benefit in these programmes.”

A Chinese state-sponsored school milk programme – set-up with help from Tetra Pak – has helped boost domestic dairy capacity in the country. Through realised efficiencies, production of liquid dairy products increased by nearly 50% between 2005 and 2009 to over 16bn tonnes.

Tetra Pak has also assisted in the creation of several school milk programmes in 2012, including a nationwide scheme in Turkey – reaching more than 7m children.

School milk schemes have also been launched with assistance from Tetra Pak in India, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

“These school milk programmes have an effect on the demand for dairy products because this is a health habit that often continues,” said Bernier.

Increase milk production

Demand for milk and other liquid dairy products is expected to increase globally by around 30% between 2010 and 2020.

Tetra Pak is determined to help increase local milk production in developing countries.

According to the firm, 6.7bn packages of milk and nutritional drinks are delivered to 51m children in schools in over 50 countries as a result of the work done by the FfDO.

“We’ve been doing this for about 50 years now. We are on the ground facilitating. We are getting the NGOs involved and speaking to local community bodies. Then in terms of dairy industry development, we are working to bring farmers, producers and processors together,” Bernier added.

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