Bles Dairies and Wageningen University & Research (WUR), both important players in the international dairy sector, regularly cooperate in projects where both knowledge at academic level and practical skills are required. This partnership manifests itself by projects in different continents, amongst others in Asia, Africa and Europe.
Currently, Bles Dairies and WUR are working on a joint international dairy knowledge institute that will use the international research and innovation centre “Dairy Campus” in Leeuwarden (the Netherlands) as its home base. In many international dairy advisory projects, practical training and transfer of knowledge to professionals are key elements and with this centre, both parties respond to the enormous need for practical and innovative trainings worldwide.
Michiel Galama has been assigned director of this institute that will develop, provide and execute professional training and consultancy activities. Galama will be responsible for the establishment and further development of this new centre for learning in practice.
Since a considerable period of time, Bles Dairies and WUR have been working together, and with this new institute their partnership intensifies and expands. They have already been co-operating on several FDOV (Facility for Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Food Security) projects in Asia and Africa. These projects are public-private partnerships with the objective to improve the food security situation and to strengthen the private sector in developing countries.
In Ethiopia, they have started in 2015 DairyBISS: an EKN-funded project to stimulate the private dairy sector development. Over a period of 3 years, a dairy business platform is established, during which Bles Dairies, represented by the Friesian, is responsible for the practical trainings to local instructors and trainers. This happens on different topics, such as housing, forage production and cattle hoof trimming. (Due to political turbulence in the country, this project has been put on hold for the time being.)
Bles Dairies and WUR also co-operate with an international milk processor in the Dairy4Growth project, another Public Private Partnership taking place for 5 – 7 years in Vietnam, Indonesia and Nigeria. By improving the farmers’ skills and knowledge and by ameliorating their socio-economic livelihood, they aim to produce sustainable dairy products that meet the quality standards. The Friesian not only coordinates and provides the training of regional governments and local instructors, bus also transfers knowledge through dairy Master Farms. These Master Farms are frontrunners and function as an example to the local farmers in the area, so that they can learn from their neighbours on a structural basis.
With the development of the dairy knowledge institute, the partnership between Bles Dairies and WUR intensifies. The institute, situated in the Netherlands, will contribute to the development and provision of worldwide training and consultancy activities, for which the projects mentioned above are only a small example.