China’s Dairy Century
The main theme of the article is focused on global dairy farming, and particularly, asks questions concerning how China managed to beat the odds to become one of the largest producers and consumers of milk and other dairy products globally. Moreover, due to China’s traditional disposition of milk and dairy products, the author tries to answer a question on who was consuming the few dairy products that were made traditionally, and in what manner.
According to the author, dairy farming and production were not very popular among the Chinese people during the twentieth century. However, there has been a surprising drift in the production and consumption of dairy products by China in the twenty-first century. The author explains that based on statistical information from the World Trade Organization, China has become the third-largest producer of milk and other dairy products after the United States of America and India. China’s drift in dairy production is explained through three angles that include production, consumption, and culture.
According to the article, China’s dairy production sector was not well organized in the mid and early twentieth century. Millions of cattle, Water buffalos, sheep, and horses that were kept to provide farm labor were the primary sources of milk in China. It is not very certain though, on the amount of milk that was produced by these animals for human consumption. A key problem in the early days of the twentieth century was not in the production of milk and dairy products but in storage. However, in the periods after, the investment magnitude and focus on dairy production facilities began to bear fruits, which were largely manifested in the twenty-first century after China became the third-largest global milk producer. Moreover, the large investment in specialized dairy cattle, consolidation and mechanization of various industrial processes were key contributors to the improved uptake and production of the Chinese dairy industry.
The article highlights factors that may have affected milk production originally in China and put across one outstanding reason that is, the influence of cultural heritage and perception on milk consumption among the Chinese people. This is further explained through the life of an American missionary who spent most of his adulthood in China, citing that the Chinese people find it disgusting to use milk in their various cooking fronts. Various scholars in the twentieth century cited in their research work that milk and its products were largely lacking from the Chinese traditional diet mostly, because of cultural beliefs or rather due to lactose intolerance. This aspect of consumption in essence, hypothetically affected milk production in China. A question on who was consuming the dairy products made by certain specialized people in China and in what manner is highlighted through the medical properties of the animal milk. The author explains through various references how the medicinal value of milk was realized by the Chinese to cure various diseases, resulting in a drift in consumption and high production. Moreover, the high production saw the introduction of and importation of the first powdered milk from China to other parts of the world.
\In conclusion, many factors influenced the production of dairy products in China. Nonetheless, milk production and global leadership in the sector was greatly influenced by a drift in cultural beliefs and improvement of production facilities such as storage.