Free milk nourishes preschoolers in Xinjiang


DM Monitoring

URUMQI: For over 200,000 families with children under 6 years old in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, there could be no better gift for the upcoming International Children’s Day — which is also World Milk Day — than 10 bags of milk, packed in a case and delivered to their doorstep. Over the past two years, the city government has spent 193 million yuan (27 million U.S. dollars) on offering free milk to a total of 232,000 preschoolers citywide.
Every 10 days, each child receives 10 bags, each containing 200 ml of pure milk, produced and delivered according to the strictest standards.
In April 2018, Urumqi launched a project to expand the scope of free milk provision from primary and middle school students to preschoolers, making it the first city in China to do so.
“All preschoolers who have lived in Urumqi for over half a year are included in the scheme,” said Jin Xiangdong from the city’s agriculture and animal husbandry bureau.
As one of the suppliers, Xinjiang Terun Dairy Company set up a special production line on the outskirts of the city, using the most advanced technology and the highest standards.
The high-quality raw milk is from a designated cow pasture, and sampling inspection at the production line is conducted every 15 minutes — much more frequently than in usual production lines, according to Checheg, head of the quality and technology department.
“Technicians inspect the milk from multiple dimensions, such as the total number of colonies, protein index and taste. And all the indexes are absolutely superior to the market standard,” Checheg said.
The milk’s fat content is 3.6 percent and the protein content 3 percent, which is equivalent to the nutritional value of high-priced milk in the market.
Delivery is also key to the implementation of this policy. According to He Jinjun, director of the development and reform commission of Tianshan District, community workers visit households diligently to update information and keep tabs on the number of preschoolers.
“Fresh milk off the production line in the morning is delivered to every child’s home by evening,” He said.
Reziwanguli Upur is a community worker and also a mother of two. Her community has 287 preschoolers. Every time the milk vehicle arrives, she and her 23 colleagues move quickly to deliver the milk to those families that qualify for the service.
Her elder child drinks free milk for students while her younger one drinks milk for preschoolers.
“We are all beneficiaries of the project. The free milk is like a gift from the city,” she said.