University College Dublin (UCD), Richard Keenan & Co. Ltd., and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences have joined forces to form the China-Ireland Dairy Science and Technology Centre.

The announcement was made during this week’s trade mission to China led by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Covcney. Keenan & Co has been funded and supported by Enterprise Ireland.

The tri-partite agreement will bring closer co-operation between the parties. With a goal to improve feeding efficiency, animal health and reduced environmental impact of dairy farming, the Centre is an important strategic development between China and Ireland.

At a signing ceremony in Beijing, witnessed by Minister Coveney and Minister Hanfu at the Ministry of Agriculture on November 3, Minister Coveney said the announcement of the new China-Ireland Dairy Science and Technology Centre is exciting and very timely.

“This Centre will encourage programmes of exchange and collaboration in areas of great importance to both countries as we face the challenges and opportunities presented by rapidly growing Dairy Farming sectors. Ireland’s involvement in this venture through Keenans and UCD is testament to the calibre and professional esteem both organisations are rightfully held in,” he said.

The Minister outlined that China with around twelve million dairy cows currently produces 38 billion litres of milk per annum and aims to increase production to 60 billion litres by 2020.

With Ireland also expanding its Dairy Sector, with the quotas being removed in 2015 the Minister said both countries face challenges and opportunities in dairy expansion, it is an ideal time to strengthen the relationship and understanding between China and Ireland’s dairy sectors.

He said the Centre is a significant platform to further the dialogue and to help in achieving these goals and will play an important role delivering and extending technology and know-how to farms in China that will improve their efficiency and profitability.