Where dairy was born

Istanbul is a vast city, and the 1,300 attendees at the IDF World Dairy Summit may have been just a drop in its 14.6 million inhabitants for the last week. However, the information collated and dispersed on dairy was quite large, representing more than 75% of the world’s dairy production, with the recent induction of Russia and Kenya into the IDF family.

In fact, the discussion about how to feed 10 billion people globally utilising the globe’s dairy output continues to be one of the industry’s primary focuses. Indeed, the Gates Foundation was present, showing that connecting with the world’s more than 500 million farmers is a key solution to the problem of human poverty.

When one considers that there is dairy on every continent except the Antarctic, the scale of the industry becomes apparent. For the last 10,000 years, dairy has been a part of the human experience, and Turkey was its cradle. It is sometimes awe-inducing.

Turkey is the eighth largest dairy producer in the world, the third largest in Europe. Its 35 million sheep, 17 million cows and 10 million goats have seen total milk outputs of 22.1 million tons. This country loves its yogurt – an average family of four can consume up to five kilograms of yogurt per week. Indeed, it is sold in 2kg buckets in the smallest supermarket.

Dr Nevzat Artik of Ankara University, was the driver behind getting the Summit to Turkey and it was an inspired choice. What better place to discuss the future of dairy than at a place that could be considered its birthplace?

And with that, I’ll raise a toast with a glass of ayran (a drink made with plain yogurt, water and salt) to the future. Şerefe!

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