Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thanks Dairy Farmers, Now Please Behave!

Below is a translation of "A letter to dairy farmers nationwide" issued by the Ministry of Agriculture Press Office. The context: starting in September 2008 the melamine crisis rocked the industry. The Ministry of Agriculture worked hard to deal with the crisis. Just when things seemed to be back to normal, the melamine crisis reappeared in the last two months, as several companies were caught selling melamine-tainted milk powder that should have been destroyed. Dairy farmers themselves were not directly implicated in the melamine problem, but they probably played a role. The rectification policies require farmers to use "modern" techniques, etc.

This letter is an interesting example of Confucianism in China's current government/party. It reassures farmers that their leaders are doing all they can to help them while appealing to the farmers' sense of duty to follow the rules so everyone will benefit. The dairy industry is an example of how the central authorities go to great efforts to set up an orderly system while at ground-level everyone quietly keeps doing their own thing.

My translation of letter follows...

Dairy Farmer Friends:
With Spring Festival approaching, the Ministry of Agriculture Dairy Management Office and China Dairy Industry Association bring you greetings and wish you the best!

2009 was an extraordinary year for our country’s dairy industry development. Facing the serious effects of the infant formula incident, the central commission of the communist party and State Council paid great attention, issuing many effective measures. Under the leadership of the party and state council, various departments, the majority of companies and the nation’s dairy farmers met the difficulties head on, meeting the storm together, through more than year’s hard work together, out country’s dairy industry made a fast recovery in 2009, and the industry is back on course, farmers’ profits are back up.
Dairy farmers are the central force of the industry’s development. The hard work of our country’s dairy industry is an inseparable part of the industry’s rapid recovery after heavy losses. The Ministry of Agriculture Dairy Management Office and China Dairy Industry Association would like to thank you for overcoming difficulties and contributing to the industry’s speedy recovery during this period.

Promoting healthy development of the industry, preserving farmer profits is the starting point for the work of government departments. In the new year, the State will continue the subsidy for fine dairy cattle breeds, subsidies for purchase of milking equipment, policy support for construction of standardized, commercial-scale dairy production zones, and continue improving the mechanism for jointly benefiting farmers and enterprises, giving more support for dairy farmer specialized cooperative organizations, supporting construction of dairy farms and production zones, strengthening technology guidance and service, raising the level and capacity for public services, promoting dairy industry transformation and modern dairy industry development.
The dairy industry is becoming a shining new industry with great prospects. Promoting its healthy development is our responsibility and our obligation, and every dairy farmer has a stake in it. It is hoped that most dairy farmer friends will continue to do a good job in raising dairy cattle according to requirements in “Dairy Product Quality Supervision Regulations” and “Dairy Industry Reorganization and Revitalization Plan,” using scientific methods, maintaining a good quality structure of dairy herds, using standardized production, raising the level of husbandry, protecting quality and safety in dairying, ceaselessly raising the quality of milk for the development of our country’s dairy industry and the health of the masses.

A new year, new hope, new atmosphere, the Ministry of Agriculture Dairy Management Office, China Dairy Industry Association wish all our country’s dairy farmer friends a happy “year of the tiger,” health, and luck!
Ministry of Agriculture, China Dairy Association, February 10, 2010

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