In the largest project of its kind in the world and the biggest ever undertaken by an Israeli firm, 30,000 dairy cows are being flown to Vietnam to supply 300 million liters of milk annually as part of a $500 million dairy farm project there.
“This is a very large operation,” says Daniel Hojman, the Uruguay-born manager of dairy farming professional compliance for SAE Afikim, based in Kibbutz Afikim near the Sea of Galilee. With employees from 10 Israeli companies relocating to Vietnam until the project is fully implemented, this is quite an understatement.
The company, whose AfiMilk and AfiFarm computerized systems for modern dairy farm and herd management are globally-recognized, won a five-year contract to manage a new Vietnamese corporation’s scheme to boost milk production and consumption to unprecedented levels in this socialist republic.
Every 50 days starting last February, another 1,500 heifers have landed in Vietnam after a three-week ocean journey. After five years, the operation will encompass 30,000 cows at 12 state-of-the-art mega dairies and a milk processing plant supplying 300 million liters per year. By the end of 2012, 500,000 liters are expected to be produced daily.
Today, the average Vietnamese drinks 11.5 liters of milk each year – most of it made from imported milk powder – compared to 130 liters consumed by the average Israeli. Each dairy cow in Vietnam produces about 3,500 liters a year, or one-third of the output for an Israeli heifer. Israeli know-how will change that.