Soaring demand for $NZ10 billion New Zealand milk and dairy products from the South Pacific region and parts of Asia has prompted producers to expand plant facilities in Christchurch last month. There are also projections for a 50 per cent growth in demand for New Zealand’s premium UHT milk over the next five years from the islands region and Asia. While Fiji is the largest importer of manufactured goods particularly dairy in the South Pacific, New Zealand regards the bloc of countries under the Forum collectively to be their seventh largest trading partner.
New Zealand has broad trade and economic ties with South Pacific Forum island countries – though the trend is greatly in New Zealand’s favour. Last year, New Zealand exported in between $NZ1-1.5 billion to the island countries – especially Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, French Polynesia, New Caledonia and the Cook Islands. In return New Zealand only sources imports of around $NZ100million every from the region.
Australian-owned Goodman Fielder – which also manufacturing operations in Fiji, New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea – last month injected more capital in broadening its plant facilities in New Zealand to tap into the country’s burgeoning dairy sector. Goodman Fielder will upgrade its ultra-heat treated (UHT) milk plant in Christchurch to increase capacity amid booming demand for UHT milk in the Pacific islands and parts of Asia. “The premium UHT category in Asia Pacific is anticipated to grow by around 50 per cent over the next five years,” said Goodman chief executive Chris Delaney.
“This project will provide us with additional capacity to address this growing market through our iconic brand distribution capability. We are investing now to meet that demand and also plan for future growth,” he announced. New Zealand’s white gold industry employs 45,000 workers tending about 6.4 million cows. China alone buys $NZ7.7 billion of Kiwi goods of which $3billion is dairy. For New Zealand, dairy is the largest foreign exchange earner, accounting for 28 per cent of overseas sales in an economy where exports make up about a third of output.
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