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Agricultural cooperatives can ensure food safety

Xinhua | Updated: 2014-03-03 11:12

China should focus on agricultural cooperatives to ensure better food safety and quality, industry experts said at a meeting on Wednesday.

Partnerships between farmers and firms can ensure product safety and quality via agricultural cooperatives, said Yin Chengjie, head of the Chinese Association of Agricultural Economics.

China has more than 980,000 agricultural cooperatives involving more than 74 million farming households, or around 28.5 percent of the country's total.

Currently Chinese agricultural cooperatives lack financing, technology and management as well as services, and their quality and efficiency need to be improved, Yin said, suggesting to learn from the practices of Netherlands' cooperatives.

The Netherlands boasts high-quality dairy products despite its limited natural resources. Its dairy sector boom is attributed to its unique cooperative model between farmers and firms, according to Atze Schaap, Director Dairy Development China at Royal FrieslandCampina, a Dutch dairy company.

Under the cooperative model, farmers and dairy firms share risks and profits throughout the industrial chain. Farmers are obliged to ensure high-quality milk and firms have to buy it all at a fixed price according to the contract, and share dividends with the farmers if they make profits.

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