Nestle has inaugurated a "dairy farming institute" in China as part of ongoing efforts to foster the development of sustainable dairy production in the market in order to secure the supply of raw milk.

In an announcement today (15 October), Nestle said the CHF30m (US$31.6m) institute, located in Shuangcheng in the north-eastern province of Heilongjiang, was one of its "biggest dairy investments" in the country.

Nestle wants to modernise Chinese dairy farming practices to help farmers meet the country's growing demand for dairy. It will encourage the "responsible production" of safe, quality-assured dairy products.

The training facility consists of classrooms, laboratories, dormitories and three different sized training farms. Training will cover a "wide range" of dairy management disciplines, including animal health and welfare, milking hygiene, animal nutrition, environmental protection and socio-economic management, Nestle added.

Nestle already operates three "milk districts" in China, in Shuangcheng, Laixi in Qingdao and Hulunbeier in Inner Mongolia.

"We have a history of developing milk districts and the Nestle Dairy Farming Institute is an extension of this," said John Cheung, Nestle China chairman and CEO.

The institute has been set up in collaboration with multiple stakeholders. Business partners are Alltech, Alta Genetics, Avery, Boehringer Ingelheim, East Rock, Elanco, Foester Technik, GEA, Goke Storty, IFCN, Land O'Lakes, SCR, Zoetis. Academic partners at the University of Wisconsin Madison and Northeast Agricultural University in Heilongjiang Province are also on board.