Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) has teamed up with Milk SA to improve the current state of South Africa’s milk industry by adding more innovation.
The two entities signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) which aims to increase one of the most efficient and competitive dairy industries in the world whilst operating in a free market environment, unlike most of its international trade competitors which are supported with government interventions.
Milk SA, alongside partners Milk Producers’ Organisation (MPO) and the SA Milk Processors’ Organisation (Sampro), will benefit from the MOU to improve the milk industry’s competitiveness.
According to Milk SA, the number of milk farms and processors of dairy products continues to decline, especially since deregulation in 1997. However, the industry has succeeded in increasingly providing sufficient unprocessed milk and dairy products of a high standard to consumers.
In its role as an industry builder, the TIA, an entity of the department of science and innovation, signed a strategic collaboration agreement with Milk SA as the umbrella industry body.
Milk SA was established with the strategic intent to improve the competitiveness of the South African dairy industry, broaden the market for South African dairy products, and empower existing black dairy entrepreneurs.
One goal in mind
According to TIA’s cluster model, the approach for assessing value chains and stimulating the development of activities and interventions to facilitate sector or industry-level engagements through a cross-cutting approach needed all stakeholders to work together with one goal in mind.
Bioeconomy executive from TIA Dr Vuyisile Phehane said the approach was intended to address systemic weaknesses that hamper innovation and commercialisation beyond just the provision of funding to individual projects.
Phehane explained that Milk SA is delighted to have reached this milestone and looks forward to the contributions by TIA and Milk SA towards the prosperity of the South African dairy industry.
“The signing of this collaboration agreement is the culmination of years of negotiation and underscores the realisation that partnerships are central to the achievement of the developmental goals of South Africa.
“This historic moment of the signature of a memorandum of understanding between TIA and Milk SA has also ensured a meeting of minds regarding further support to the transformation agenda of Milk SA and TIA,” he said.
Phehane said as they pursue diversity, equity, and inclusion, they envisage a dairy industry in which the participation of women is commonplace, and in which all opportunities within the value chain are opened for participation.
Improvement of dairy research
Milk SA research development programme manager Dr Heinz Meissner said the relationship with TIA is of high importance in supporting the research and development program of the dairy sector.
“Technology development and innovation in a competitive environment where profit margins are small is crucial, and therefore we anticipate that this relationship should provide increased opportunities to achieve such innovation and at the same time maintain sustainability.
“This collaboration is a good example of a public-private partnership that would contribute to economic growth and a competitive industry, leading to improved quality of life for South Africans,” he said.
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