Have you ever thought about what a litre of milk is worth to you?
In Australia, we seem to take for granted that the milk we get from the supermarket is safe and fresh.
We take for granted the milk we give to our kids and put in our coffee is the best in the world.
We don’t have to think twice when we get to the supermarket, because the milk we buy is produced on Aussie farms, by Australian dairy farmers.
It’s easy to see how lucky we are when we look at the demand for fresh Australian milk overseas.
Milk from the NSW farmer cooperative Norco sells for up to $10 a litre in China. This is not to say that Chinese consumers are getting ripped off - it takes a lot of work to get fresh milk from the NSW North Coast to China.
Instead, the point is that Chinese consumers recognise the true value of Australian milk – possibly even more than many Aussies.
Unfortunately, Chinese families have not always been able to trust their local milk. In 2008, more than 50,000 children were hospitalised in China in a milk contamination incident.
This is one of the reasons why Australian infant formula remains popular in China and it is one of the reasons why Chinese consumers are willing to pay what we might think are extraordinary prices for fresh milk.
Chinese mums and dads are just like mums and dads the world over; they want the best for their families.
That’s why Chinese demand for Australian dairy is set to grow.
I am currently travelling to Shanghai for the world’s biggest import fair.
Norco will be one of more than 50 NSW businesses launching its products and services at the expo.
It’s great that the Chinese recognise the value of Aussie milk, but if we are going to keep our dairy farmers in business, more Aussies have to do the same.
If you value being able to walk into a supermarket and pick up a couple of litres of the world’s best milk and you want your kids to be able to enjoy that privilege too, then I’d encourage you to keep looking out for local milk brands like Norco at the supermarket.
If we all can manage that, then I’m confident that our dairy farmers will keep supplying us long into the future with that legendary stuff that is fresh milk.
- Minister for Primary Industries, Regional Water and Trade and Industry Niall Blair is leading a trade delegation to China and Vietnam this week.