I am indebted to a friend for sending me on the latest views from China on the developing place of milk in the national official nutritional guidelines. According to the note, prominent doctors and even the government have advocated drinking milk to build the body’s immune system to help fend off “the dreaded COVID-19”.

Taking all dairy products together, China’s per-capita consumption of milk equivalent has risen to 34 litres per year, which is just a third of most western countries' consumption, so if present trends and official endorsement continues, there is enormous scope for growth. From an Irish point of view, the continuing Chinese distrust of domestically produced products adds to the attractiveness of Ireland as a supplier to Chinese customers. We can easily overlook the advantages that Irish dairying has in a world context. Its products, both butter and powders command premiums. In the case of butter, Kerrygold has achieved an extraordinary place on two of the most sophisticated markets in the world – Germany and the United States, while in the case of powders, the largest and most reputable manufacturers in the world have established large manufacturing plants here to supply the most discerning infant formula markets.