China Calling (May)

May 6th 2014 Comments

China is one of the main growing areas in our ingredient category, serving as the first part of our supply chain. While all ingredients are processed at our finished goods supply center in Illinois, our office and partners in China are an integral part of Silva. Each China Calling newsletter contains the latest updates from the field.

New Additions to the Silva-China Staff

We are pleased to announce that we have added two new members to our Silva team in China. Miss Shu Ya Nan, as company agronomist, will be working with Silva’s partners to help them better understand and improve their agricultural management. She comes from a farming family and graduated from Jiangxi Agricultural University with a major in Botanical Protection.

We also welcome Mr. Jiang Yu Feng as Regional Quality Manager. In this role, Mr. Yu Feng will work with a small group of raw material partners in and around the Shandong area. He will be responsible for the development and auditing of various food safety programs as well. In his last position in the engineering sector he worked with a variety of quality management systems so his experience is vast. In addition, Mr. Yu Feng has worked on implementing laboratory management systems and has solid hands-on knowledge when it comes to the workings of a testing laboratory.

Bringing the Team Together

As part of on-going training and team development, International Technical Director Roger Clarke took the team on a training and team-building trip that included visits to a few selected raw material partners. The experience quickly brought the team closer together.

Congratulations Are in Order

Ms. Zang Li, who has been with us for almost 10 years and who married our Silva-China General Manager Rodrigo Nunez a few years ago, has achieved another milestone by passing her driving test. The process in China is very different in that it requires several written examinations and two driving assessments. Lili passed all of her written exams with scores over 95% and just recently passed her final driving test. She has to wait around 10 days to get her license but once she does, she will be able to share the driving with Rodrigo on those long road trips to our partners in Inner Mongolia.

Dehydration Techniques

We have an assortment of drying techniques at our disposal—from large and sophisticated belt dehydration, to tunnel or tray driers, to traditional bin driers—all of which have their own niche in terms of products and process requirements. During a recent visit to a partner facility, Rodrigo Nunez, our Silva-China General Manager, just had to lend a hand to help the operator. Rodrigo, who has been with Silva for almost 10 years yet in the industry for around 20, has roots firmly in the production environment and every now and then drifts back to the area he loves.

Agronomy Training, Even While Raining

It was a wet and windy day when our International Technical Director Roger Clarke decided to give Miss Shu Ya Nan her induction into the programs that Silva has in place in China. Here we see the two talking about the sustainable agriculture and IPM (integrated pest management) systems set up in various growing areas. Miss Ya Nan will be working closely with selected partners to ensure that robust systems for bio diversity, plant protection chemical management, farm worker health and safety, and a range of other agricultural programs are developed in 2014.

Carrot Time

With some raw material sites starting to ramp up at the start of the carrot season, Tyler Huenink, a Purchasing Manager from Silva’s U.S. location, made another visit to China to see the condition of the coming crops (right).

Tyler makes between 3-5 visits to China each year to assess the general market and stay hands-on with this raw material portion of our supply chain

Agricultural Differences

It was recently reported that a farmer who owns land in both Utah and Inner Mongolia, China, said his U.S. farm was more profitable as a result of soil nutrition, sunshine, more sophisticated technology, and agricultural automation. A big difference between the two, of course, is the large scale farming of a single crop at the U.S. location.

Did you know that China has one-fifth of the world’s population, but only 9% of the world’s land? Reports say that in China, when people move from an agricultural area to an urban area, their calorific intake increases by 20%.

China's government has set itself a target of growing 95% of its own grain requirements by the end of 2014. This has pushed up the annual grain crop in China to just over 600 million tons. Given government subsidies provided, this usually occurs at the cost of other crops.

Other Facts:

  • China currently imports over 70 million tons of soybeans, corn, wheat, and rice.
  • Recent overseas investments have seen some Chinese companies invest $1.5 billion (U.S.) on a 10-year lease of 300,000 hectares on land in Argentina.
  • Comparing farms, a typical U.S. farm that employs 4-5 farm hands will need around 200-300 people in China to provide the same output, due to lack of automation.
  • Chinese companies have invested in over 590 different overseas farms, spread across 90 countries.