Fonterra creams off promising dairy students

09:08, August 30, 2010      

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Fonterra, the biggest dairy processing company in the world, has identified the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) as one of the most important long-term development strategies to enable it to integrate into Chinese society.

New Zealand-based Fonterra, cooperating with the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation, founded the Fonterra Scholarship in late June to reward 400 excellent but impoverished students studying animal husbandry and food science at university over the next four years. The award is worth a total of 2 million yuan.

From June 2010 to December 2012, every year the Fonterra Scholarship will spend 400,000 yuan on 100 students from five universities including China Agricultural University, Northeast Agricultural University, Jiangnan Univesity, South China University of Technology and Northwest Agricultural and Forestry University. Each will receive 4,000 yuan a year.

The purpose of the scholarship is to help impoverished students finish their studies at university and facilitate the development of the food industry as well as the agricultural economy of China, said Li Xikui, vice-executive secretary of the China Soong Ching Ling Foundation.

"Fonterra expects to encourage more students to study animal husbandry and food science, which can boost China's agricultural and food industries," said Philip Turner, the managing director of Fonterra (China). "Young university students have the potential to be leaders in China's dairy and food industries. The scholarship project can benefit the whole dairy business in the long run, which is the core of our career development."

China has the fastest growing demand for food in the world and the industry supplying it is also rapidly expanding. Fonterra wants to play a role in helping it to develop in a sustainable manner, said Turner.

"China's food industry and rural economy are in a process of structural readjusting. There is a big opportunity to develop animal husbandry and food science in China. Most of our sponsored students coming from rural areas can seize the opportunity and enhance agricultural professional skills as well as ranch management ability, and play significant roles in the growth of the dairy industry," he added.

Fonterra's development strategy is based on integrating into the societies where it sets up business. The company has established some CSR projects in New Zealand that benefited local stakeholders.

"China is the only country in which Fonterra operates pastures outside New Zealand. The Fonterra Scholarship is the first CSR project taken overseas by the company. Most of our stakeholders are from rural areas. Fonterra chose China Soong Ching Ling Foundation as a partner because it also focuses on Chinese rural development," said Turner.

More than 7,700 medical workers have been training in Fonterra projects. Fifteen ambulances have been donated to 15 counties in Hebei province. Meanwhile, the 155 medical facilities it sponsors have successfully treated 42,378 patients.

China Soong Ching Ling Foundation was founded in May 1982. Its philanthropic work includes education, culture, technology and hygiene practices. It has set up special funds to support agricultural education in China.

Source:China Daily


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