Wednesday, 27 July 2016 16:24

Frosts a change for Indonesian Fonterra visitors

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Getting up early on a foggy frosty Waikato morning for calving is quite a change for Indonesian farmers in New Zealand this winter with Fonterra's Dairy Development programme. Getting up early on a foggy frosty Waikato morning for calving is quite a change for Indonesian farmers in New Zealand this winter with Fonterra's Dairy Development programme.

Getting up early on a foggy frosty Waikato morning for calving is quite a change for the nine Indonesian farmers in New Zealand this winter with Fonterra's Dairy Development programme.

These farmers who would normally work in hot and humid 31 degree temperatures, are now rugged up to spend four weeks in New Zealand as part of their 12 week scholarship programme with Fonterra.

Fonterra's Dairy Development programme teaches farmers in developing countries animal care best practice, and other key skills to improve on-farm efficiencies that produce higher volumes of better quality milk.

Joining the farmers in the programme are three Indonesian Government dairy extension officers and two Fonterra Sri Lankan supplier relationship officers.

Fonterra's director of social responsibility, Carolyn Mortland, says the Dairy Development programme is crucial to ensure the cooperative continues building support in off-shore markets.

The cooperative's dairy development work supports the growth of sustainable dairy farming in key markets where Fonterra operates such as Indonesia and Sri Lanka - sharing its expertise and working together with local farmers, governments and industry bodies.

"As a global business, for us to continue growing in our most important markets, we need to have strong local partnerships. Supporting the sustainability of local dairy industries within these markets is a natural way to achieve this," says Mortland.

"This programme is now in its fourth year and we're already seeing fantastic results. Last year, close to 90% of the farmers we worked with reported improved milk quality or were producing more milk as a result of new milk hygiene, animal care and farm management practices."

Indonesian farmer Egi Giantara says he's learnt a lot so far and loves being in New Zealand, despite the chilly weather.

"In the short time I've been in New Zealand I've already learnt about calf and effluent management and have a much better understanding of animal behaviour," says Giantara.

"I'm very grateful to Fonterra for giving me this opportunity. It's providing me with information to improve my farming operation back home. I'm looking forward to sharing my new found knowledge with other farmers when I finish the programme."

Giantara and the rest of the group are in New Zealand until August 13.

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