Dairy Australia's scholarship program for Greater China is continuing to educate participants from Australia's largest dairy export destination on the value of Australian dairy as a supplier of clean and safe dairy products.
The program this year engaged 16 participants, who had the opportunity to learn firsthand about the Australian dairy industry.
The aim of the program, which has been running for more than 20 years, is to foster relationships between the Chinese and Australian industries, facilitating international trade on behalf of the Australian dairy industry.
Dairy Australia's international market manager, Sarah Xu, said participants were industry professionals from China working in roles such as marketing, research development, manufacturing and food safety.
"Participants gain a vital understanding and new appreciation of what makes Aussie dairy the best in the world, including Australia's quality assurance and food safety systems, and they leave the country with a solid understanding of the entire dairy supply chain," Ms Xu said.
Participants visited three farms in Victoria in July, as well as processor facilities Chobani, Burra Foods, Saputo, Freedom Foods, Bega and That's Amore.
They also had the opportunity to meet with representatives from Lion, Fonterra Australia and Bulla.
This firsthand knowledge gives the scholarship participants credibility when they talk about Australian dairy back in their home marketplace.
Australian Consulate-General in Shanghai business development manager Kevin Wang, who was one of the participants, said the program was a valuable experience.
"Australian dairy is premium -- that is the key message I'll bring back to my work for the Australian Consulate-General in Shanghai," he said.
"When I'm back at work, I'll be getting the message out about the variety of Australian dairy products so we can keep highlighting this to the Chinese market."
Mengniu Dairy Cheese's research and development supervisor, Qingquan Yan, said he regarded the program as both professionally and personally rewarding.
"I have a passion for cheese and I want to build the cheese market in China. Dairy Australia's program was a good opportunity for me to step up and work further toward this goal," he said.
For Food Fashion chief chef Roy Yu, the program was an opportunity to learn more to build his customer base.
"I am a chef and before this program, I was not that familiar with cheesemaking processes and methods," he said.
"It could be very difficult to explain to my customers. Through Dairy Australia's scholarship program, I learned a lot about different aspects of cheese to communicate to my customers."
In 2017-18, Australia exported $1.19 billion of dairy produce to China. This equates to 35 per cent of total Australian export values for the year.
Ms Xu said the China dairy scholarships had created a powerful alumni network of past participants who had contributed to Australian dairy export success.
"The value of the reciprocal insights gained in the markets where Australia is selling dairy and the strengthening of established business links cannot be underestimated," she said.
Dairy Australia also co-ordinates scholarships groups annually from Japan and Southeast Asia.