June 8, 2011

NZ farming group eyes dairy operation in China


A group of Taranaki farmers has announced plans to set up a Kiwi- style model dairy farm in the south of China.

Accountant John Wilson said the group wanted to emulate Fonterra and set up a 1800-head herd in Guangxi province to supply fresh milk to the local market.

Wilson said he had links to a Hong Kong resources-based investment company and a Chinese agricultural research firm that would buy the land and provide post-gate marketing experience.

He was limited in what he could say until the prospectus had been registered in the middle of next month, but the aim was to have the company, Golden Harvest, based in Hong Kong but owned almost entirely by New Zealanders.

A limited issue statement shows Golden Harvest is looking to raise US$5 million from Kiwi dairy investors, with a minimum investment of US$10,000. In about two years' time, once the farm was established, the company hoped to set up another 20 farms, funded by a listing on Hong Kong's GEM index.

Wilson said he had already received requests from young farmers wanting to move to China and help run the farm. It was important to see that investment was not "all one-way traffic" between China and New Zealand. China's existing local dairy production was insufficient for the demand, and that provided an export opportunity for New Zealand dairy skills.

"It's not just New Zealand. Ireland, the Dutch, the Germans . . . they're all in there endeavouring to deliver supply to the Chinese consumers for better dairy products."

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