According to local reports, small farmers in Shandong, Qinghai and Hebei provinces are pouring milk down drains, while others are feeding surplus milk to pigs.

Processors have slashed prices and many farmers have been forced to give up altogether. The lower cost of foreign milk has also affected the Chinese market.

Many people in China avoid domestic brands, opting instead to purchase foreign. Recent figures released by Bord Bia show that in 2014, Asia accounted for 20% of Irish dairy exports. China is now Ireland's second most important market for dairy, compared to 13th in 2008.

Last year Kerry Group launched an Irish infant formula brand called “Green LOVE+” for the Chinese market.

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