It is a pleasure to be here today to witness and open Arla Foods new Asia Regional Office.
Arla was founded 100 years ago. As a cooperative of milk farmers it has contributed significantly not only to development of the Danish economy, but also to making Danish society what it is today with a strong emphasis on voice and representation for all citizens.
Europe has a proud dairy tradition and maybe my own country in particular so. The cooperative movement gained traction in Denmark in the 1880s. Being a cooperative means that the company’s profits go directly to the farmers. Today, dairy farmers continue to see the strength of owning the business that processes their milk into a range of dairy products. Therefore, in 2015, Arla Foods is a cooperative owned by more than 13,500 farmers in Denmark, Sweden, the UK, Germany, Belgium and Luxemburg.
In Asia, many countries rely on dairy imports. Just as my own country import other important foods, such as palm oil for example. With Asia’s large and growing demand for dairy it makes good sense that a company like Arla Foods, with the 3rd largest milk intake in the world, increases it efforts to bring its dairy products to the Asian consumers.
Arla brings not only natural, nutritious and inspirational products to the region, but also expertise and technology in farming and milk processing. Together, it can provide an important impetus to the further development of the agriculture and dairy sector in Malaysia and other countries in the region.
Over the decades, Malaysia has developed to become one of the biggest growth markets in Southeast Asia with increasing trade and investments. It is also an increasingly strategic location for European companies such as Arla Foods to grow their markets in the Asia region.
Improved health and nutrition is fundamental to any country’s sustained growth. And Malaysia is no exception as it strives to become a high-income nation by 2020. Access to safe and nutritious food that consumers can trust is becoming increasingly important.
I would like to congratulate Arla Foods on the inauguration of their new Asia Regional Office here in Kuala Lumpur. Apart from Malaysia being an attractive market and Kuala Lumpur a convenient and efficient place to establish a regional hub, this country is also a food heaven. Food from many cultures blend in an incredible diversity of tastes and aromas and formats. Where better to set up shop if you are in the food business?
Thank you. Terimah kasih.