Milk production has been among the most celebrated success stories in Asia. This success story has been written by millions of small farmers scattered across the region. The region now produces close to 40 percent of the global milk production compared to less than 20 percent just three decades ago.
But dairy is more than just about producing and selling milk. Dairy is about supporting poor peoples’ livelihoods. Dairy is about nutrition and cognitive development of children. Dairy is about empowerment of women and Dairy is about unleashing the potential for rural economic growth.
The projected growing consumer demand for milk and dairy development in the region provide an excellent opportunity to boost the local dairy sector to strengthen food security, alleviate poverty alleviation and contribute to overall social equity.
While the sector faces challenges it is also rich in social and technical innovations. Sharing experiences and lessons around these innovations can be a powerful source of change in support of sustainability agenda. This requires joining hands. And that is what defines the spirit of Dairy Asia.
Linkages established since the launch of Dairy Asia are already spurring partnerships and collaborations.
During its last meeting in 2018 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, it became evident that Dairy Asia is prepared to enter the next stage, which will require more regional ownership and an independent secretariat along with increased financial resources and stronger private sector engagement. To that end, Mongolia has submitted the proposal, which is supported by the Dairy Asia steering committee, the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry of Mongolia (MoFALI) as well as the FAO and Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock (GASL). On 8 January 2020 the Mongolian cabinet has approved the order #11 that lays the ground for establishing a Secretariat office for “Dairy Asia” in Ulaanbaatar.
And we need many more. We must work together to bring changes to the lives of people who struggle day in and day out to make their ends meet; and I urge all the members of Dairy Asia to give their hundred percent for putting the Asian Dairy sector on a the path of economic, social and ecological sustainability.