Overview of the Dutch dairy sector

The Netherlands is known as the land of cheese lovers. Our Gouda cheese and other high-quality dairy products are famous all over the world. Dairy is one of our most important agricultural sectors. The dairy farming output constitutes almost one fifth of our total agricultural production. The per capita milk production is 751 kg. This output lies well above the world average of 105 kg/per capita and even above the world’s largest milk producer India, which produces 109 kg/per capita. Moreover, The Netherlands is responsible for 5% of the world dairy trade.

Small country, big dairy sector
The average Dutch farm is family owned and about 70 years ago our dairy sector was rather small scale. For instance, in 1960, the average dairy-producing farm had approximately 9 cows. A scale which is quite similar to the current Indian situation. However, through research and innovation, we have been able to build a sustainable dairy value chain. Today, the average Dutch dairy farm has around 70 animals, a staggering increase of 677%! Innovative solutions are achieved through our Dutch Integrated Approach, where the research institutes address the demands from the private sector, while the government assures an enabling environment. Another characteristic of the our dairy sector is the existence of cooperatives. Dutch farmers are historically united in so-called cooperatives to establish dairy factories, set quality standards and improve their influence on the market. FrieslandCampina, the largest cooperative, is in the top ten of dairy companies worldwide.

Challenges: manure and antibiotics
The increase in livestock was accompanied with an increase in the production of animal manure. Dutch farmers struggled with the processing of manure surplus on the limited area of farmland available and its environmental consequences. In order to comply with EU regulations, the Dutch dairy livestock had and has to be reduced. This remains a challenge in the coming years, which we will tackle through research and development. Also the use of antibiotics in livestock is an issue in Holland. Too much use of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistant bacteria, which is dangerous for animal and human health. Since 2009, the use of antibiotics in the dairy sector has successfully been reduced with 47%. We are currently exchanging views with the Government of India on the topic of antimicrobial resistance.

Focus of the dairy sector in India

India is the world’s largest producer and consumer of milk. It also has the world’s largest dairy cattle base. Being a highly diverse and spacious nation, the dairy sector stands at different stages in different parts of India. The ten states that account for 82% of India’s dairy production are: Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Bihar.

Family based
Similar to the Netherlands, the Indian agricultural sector is family based. This makes it easier for us to understand the challenges the Indian farmers face. More than 70 million rural households are engaged in milk production, the majority of them are small and marginal farmers for whom the dairy production is an important secondary source of income. Simultaneously, the Indian milk demand is projected to grow rapidly in the coming years, lifestyles are changing and income is increasing. However the average output of an Indian cow is only 10 to 15% compared to Dutch cows.

Unlock potential
The Netherlands Embassy in India, along with the support from the Indian Government and with active involvement of education & research institutes, focuses to unlock the immense potential hidden in the Indian dairy sector. Together we can achieve this by addressing genetics, nutrition and processing with time-tested solutions and partnerships with an Indian knowledge base. Long-term partnerships with the Indian dairy sector will lead to a higher profitability and healthy cattle, dairy and people.

Facts and figures



Services and partnerships

The Dutch enable a complete chain approach, addressing all vital aspects of the dairy sector.

Working with the Dutch
• Offers you to profit from a longstanding Dutch tradition in dairy farming and dairy processing
• Supports you through a complete chain approach
• Enables you to cooperate with partners that went through similar developments as India is currently going through in the domain of dairy
• Results in innovative solutions, a better quality and higher quantity production which will unlock the immense potential hidden in the Indian dairy sector

Contact us
If you are interested to participate in developing the Indian dairy sector or contact relevant partners, we suggest you contact the Netherlands Embassy. For more information, you can also consult our consortium partners, like NAFTC-India and the Dutch Dairy Cluster India.

Dutch Dairy Cluster India
The Dutch Dairy Cluster India offers a complete chain approach for animal feed and health, cattle management, sustainable entrepreneurship and genetics. The Dutch consortium also provides technologically powered processing machinery and professional training to Indian organizations. This helps to secure production, increase profits and improve quality. Through cooperating with Dutch experts and companies, India can profit from the longstanding Dutch tradition in dairy farming and dairy processing. To achieve high-quality ‘made in India’ products, this expertise is always combined with local Indian knowledge.

know more about Dutch Dairy Cluster India

View our approach

Partnership

Best practices

Delicious, long-life milk

For decades, people have been trying to sterilise milk so that it retains as much of the flavour as possible. Until now this has not been a great success. Stork Food and Dairy Systems worked with the French research institute Inra on a machine that can sterilise milk without losing any of the flavour.

Project manager Michiel van den Hout: “We drink very little sterilised milk in the Netherlands; here people prefer fresh milk. But in other parts of the world there is a demand for long-life milk that you can store unrefrigerated for months on end.” The new sterilisation concept is already working on a small scale. In addition, Stork is also developing new sterilisation methods for bottles of various sizes. Up until now, bottles have been decontaminated using hydrogen peroxide. Stork can now reduce its use of chemicals using Plasma sterilisation.

20 years of milking robots

Dairy farmers call the ‘milking robot’ the ultimate 20th century invention. The Lely Astronaut, from the Dutch machinery manufacturer Lely, has significantly reduced the amount of physical labour required in the agricultural sector. The milking robot can be used 24 hours-a-day, never falls ill, and you don’t hear the cows complaining. Since its invention in 1992 Lely has become a global player. The company also develops robotic feed pushers (Lely Juno). Together with the software company Triodor, Lely won a Technology Award for ‘Time for Cows’. This management system provides dairy farmers with an overview of their herd’s health and production levels. Twenty years after the first milking robot was launched, the 12,500th Lely Astronaut milking robot was installed at the end of 2011.

The company also develops robotic feed pushers (Lely Juno). Together with the software company Triodor, Lely won a Technology Award for ‘Time for Cows’. This management system provides dairy farmers with an overview of their herd’s health and production levels. Twenty years after the first milking robot was launched, the 12,500th Lely Astronaut milking robot was installed at the end of 2011.

Milk refinery

Milk is packed full of protein. These are processed in high-quality products such as medical foods. Baby food, another example, is enriched with whey protein, traditionally a by-product of cheese production. But how can you produce whey without making cheese? FrieslandCampina, together with Milk Prism, has found another method of separating milk into different proteins, just like in a refinery.

An innovative membrane technique makes it possible to extract the proteins directly from the milk. “It completely changes the way we view milk”, enthuses Research Manager Ynte de Vries about this more scientific approach to milk.