ROLAND SOSSNA, Editor International Dairy Magazine: The limits of growth. The big players will become fellow actors

Speaking in May at this year’s Dairy Industry Newsletter conference in London, lFCN-boss Torsten Hemme said that most milk production growth will be from local production, destined for local consumption. But yet, the world’s milk market keeps on growing on the background of an increasing global milk production. Over the past 20 years, worldwide milk production has grown by an astonishing 60 per cent and worldwide dairy trade has increased by 94 per cent, easily outpacing the growth rate of milk collection.

And worldwide milk trade is set to increase further. According to IFCN, there will be a growth by a further 13 per cent within the next five years. This is, however, badly needed as milk supply has surpassed consumption in some areas. One needs not to point this out to New Zealand or Ireland, the world leaders in dairy exports who both have to sell over 90 per cent of supply outside their home markets.

But growth cannot go on endlessly. Natural resources and land are limited and there are many questions that arise from the need to produce milk in a sustainable way. The Netherlands are a good example for limits placed on milk production. Fonterra already is sure that with the current 18 billion litres being collected every year on both NZ islands, a kind of limit has already been reached. The same in principle applies to lreland where another major growth of milk production like that one that happened over the past five years seems virtually impossible, by any means.

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