Feb 21, 2018 - Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited (Fonterra) and The a2 Milk Company (a2MC) have today entered into a comprehensive strategic relationship that links Fonterra’s global milk pool and supply chain, manufacturing capability and in-market sales and distribution capacity with a2MC’s brand strength and capabilities.
As part of the partnership, Fonterra will now begin conversations with its farmers to source an A2 milk pool for a2MC products in New Zealand, which is intended to significantly expand over time to help meet the growing demand for a2MC products. A similar milk pool in Australia will also be developed.
Announcing the deal, Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings and a2MC Managing Director and CEO Geoffrey Babidge said the partnership is designed to generate returns for both companies by growing demand in both local and international markets for products using a2MC’s brand strength and capabilities.
“The partnership is intended to fast-track market growth and this creates opportunity for our farmers to create additional value from their milk,” said Mr Spierings. “Fonterra’s high quality milk pools, our global supply chain, our manufacturing capabilities and knowledge, and our in-market sales and distribution expertise is being combined with a2MC’s brand strength to unlock new opportunities in a wide range of international markets. It is a win-win for both companies.
“We continue to see a strong future for dairy based on our existing range of products, including recent additions such as organic, low-lactose and high protein milk choices that consumers seek out for a premium. The a2MC products promoted by this partnership sit well within our overall portfolio of products.
“Consumers like to have choices and the growth of a2MC branded nutritional powders and fresh milk sales in Australia, for example, shows the potential. This partnership is all about finding ways to continue to delight our consumers and generate more value for our farmers.”
The partnership encompasses:
New Zealand and Australian milk pools to support the strategic partnership, and in the first instance the Nutritional Products Manufacturing and Supply Agreement. Fonterra will now begin discussions with its farmers on the best way to source this A2 milk for a2MC products, and share the value it will create for farmers. It is intended that these milk pools will significantly expand over time to support new a2MC products and its new priority markets across South East Asia and the Middle East.
Nutritional Products Manufacturing and Supply Agreement (NPMSA) whereby Fonterra will exclusively supply nutritional milk powder products in both bulk and consumer packaged formats intended for sale in a2MC’s new priority markets across South East Asia and the Middle East. These products will be produced at Fonterra’s facilities in New Zealand as well as Fonterra’s nutritionals facility, Darnum in Victoria, Australia. Distribution and sales arrangements, in respect of a2MC branded products whereby the companies will seek to establish distribution and sales arrangements to assist a2MC’s entry into its new priority markets across South East Asia and the Middle East.
Exclusive period to explore a2MC branded butter and cheese, and China sourced liquid milk for sale in Australia, New Zealand and China. These relate to other dairy products not presently marketed by a2MC and would be complementary to Fonterra’s existing portfolio of dairy products.
A jointly owned packaging facility will also be explored as an extension of the arrangements under the NPMSA and to cater for growth.
A New Zealand Fresh Milk Licence which will see Fonterra hold an exclusive licensing arrangement for the production, distribution, sale and marketing of a2 MilkTM fresh milk for sale in New Zealand. Fonterra will leverage its substantial fresh milk capabilities to establish distribution across the country.
Feb 09, 2018 - Build the foundations strong is Andy Bryenton's headline for his article in The Record. He writes, Roads, races, driveways, feed pads — all areas on the farm where erosion from the elements takes a constant and costly toll. Wouldn’t it be nice to build a simple, strong foundation beneath these areas to stop runoff and prevent washboarding, cracking and slippage?
As autumn approaches and it comes time to consider the maintenance of all those exposed transit areas on the farm, along comes an innovation that could be a godsend for those who are sick of watching their hard work literally go down the drain culvert with each round of winter storms. Diamond Grid is the leading surface stabilisation grid system in Australasia, coming from worldwide tests in the agricultural, landscaping and mining industries. It is extremely rugged — think over one thousand tonnes per square metre when filled with gravel, sand or chip. Due to its unique grid structure, it’s permeable, preventing the runoff effect, which strips the surface of conventional roads, pads and races.
y eliminating erosion, rutting and puddling, ongoing maintenance costs are significantly reduced. That massive load rating — made for heavy vehicles — means that even a herd of cattle can’t make a dent in the interlocking grids — think of matted pieces that slide and lock like a building set. This form of construction increases the structural strength even more.
Diamond Grid has recently been introduced into New Zealand and by the end of 2017 a manufacturing plant is [sic] up and running in Christchurch — using recycled plastics from the auto industry. It’s a win-win for the environment and the farmer. Larger grids (1,000 x 1,000mm) are not available in New Zealand at this stage. These are mainly used on the big mining roads in South America. Rural-sized 900mm x 560mm grids cost a snap at just $15 each, and each one weighs just 3 kilos — easy to manhandle into place. They can even be trimmed with a simple skill saw for custom work. Then just fill with one of many kinds of filler and your surface is rocksteady and ready.
Diamond Grid has been used for pathways, driveways, shed floors, mountain bike paths, golf courses, car parks, drains, boat ramps, carports, horse stables, racecourse stables, horse walkers, cattle yards, feed and water trough pads, cattle walkways, creek crossings, day yards, workshop floors, truck depots, fuel station hard stands, excavator yards, mine access roads, haul roads, fire trails, air strips — the list goes on.
Now it’s ready to weather the test of time on local farms. If you’re ready to invest a little now to save huge headaches in years to come, start at the ground level and get on board with this handy innovation.
Feb 08, 2018 - Freshmax are already harvesting the first of their premium kiwiberries today – this is significantly earlier than in previous seasons and they are feeling positive about an outstanding season ahead. The New Zealand summer has been kind to growers and they are delighted to welcome an early harvest with confidence around taste and appearance of the Hortgem Tahi variety.
Industries rise, fall and evolve under the constant development of new and innovative technologies. Refrigeration changed how food was supplied, the lightbulb enabled us to utilise more hours in the day, the telephone connected people and the internet distributed information far better and quicker than ever before.
Jan 17, 2018 - Fonterra has launched a new fresh milk product in China in partnership with Hema Fresh, Alibaba’s innovative new retail concept which combines traditional bricks-and-mortar shopping with a digital experience. The new Daily Fresh milk range is now available in Hema’s 14 stores in Shanghai and Suzhou in 750mL bottles, sourced directly from Fonterra’s farm hub in Hebei province. The product boasts unique product labels to match each day of the week in order to emphasise freshness, with stock being replenished overnight ready for each new day.
Jan 9, 2018 - Environmental organisation WWF and its partners have introduced revolutionary blockchain technology to the Pacific Islands’ tuna industry, the first of its kind for this region, to help stamp out illegal fishing and human rights abuses.
Tracking fish from vessel to the supermarket, the Blockchain Supply Chain Traceability Project is using digital technology in the fresh and frozen tuna sectors of the Western and Central Pacific region to strengthen supply chain management.
As part of an innovative initiative, WWF-New Zealand, WWF-Australia, and WWF-Fiji have teamed up with global tech innovator ConsenSys, information and communications technology (ICT) implementer TraSeable, and tuna fishing and processing company Sea Quest Fiji Ltd. to deliver the project in Fiji.
“We are so excited that WWF-New Zealand is a Blockchain project partner,” said WWF-New Zealand CEO Livia Esterhazy. “This innovative project has the potential to really improve people’s lives and protect the environment though smart, sustainable fisheries.”
“For years, there have been disturbing reports that consumers may have unknowingly bought tuna from illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and, even worse, from operators who use slave labour.
“Through blockchain technology, soon a simple scan of tuna packaging using a smartphone app will tell the story of a tuna fish – where and when the fish was caught, by which vessel and fishing method. Consumers will have certainty that they’re buying legally-caught, sustainable tuna with no slave labour or oppressive conditions involved. Blockchain technology is a digital, tamper-proof record of information that is accessible to everyone.”
The buying and selling of Pacific tuna is currently either tracked by paper records, or not at all. Now fishermen can register their catch on the blockchain through radio-frequency identification (RFID) e-tagging and scanning fish.
“This is about helping people understand exactly where their food comes from – telling the story about the fish, the fisherman, the families, the crew – the path from ocean to plate,” Ms Esterhazy said.
Now steps are underway to find a retailer to partner in the project and use blockchain to complete the tuna’s traceability story.
ConsenSys, one of the leaders in blockchain development, is working with WWF and Sea Quest to test and implement the Viant blockchain traceability tool for the Pacific tuna industry.
“We are thrilled to be working with WWF and Sea Quest Fiji on this project, as ConsenSys has a keen interest in supporting applications of blockchain that offer an opportunity for social impact and doing good in the world,” said Tyler Mulvihill, Co-Founder and Global Business Development, Viant.io.
Brett “Blu” Haywood, the CEO of Sea Quest Fiji, welcomes the blockchain technology. “Sustainable fishing ensures the longevity of the fishing business, and Sea Quest wants to see sustainable fishing in the region. This blockchain project with the three WWF offices certainly gives the industry the best opportunity going forward,” Mr Haywood said.
The project receives technical support from TraSeable Solutions, a new technology company based in Fiji. CEO of TraSeable Ken Katafono said: “I am very excited to be part of this project, which I’m sure will lead the transformation of seafood supply chain traceability in the Pacific and potentially around the world”.
Dec 12, 2017 - The growth in New Zealand’s primary industry exports is impressive and provides the sector a strong base to deal with the challenges ahead, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. The latest Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries report shows the sector’s exports will grow by 8.5 per cent in 2018, to $41.4 billion.
“This would be the largest annual increase since 2014 when dairy prices rose to very high levels,” says Mr O’Connor.
“Growth this year is spread across all sectors and these gains are expected to be built on a more sustainable foundation.”
Mr O’Connor says dairy exports are leading the way, with a forecast increase of 15 per cent to $16.8b in 2018 despite the wet spring affecting production.
“Despite a decline in cow numbers, there has been some better value for exporters. The sector continues to provide a solid base for a better future.
“Meat and wool exports are forecast to grow 4.2 per cent to $8.7b, with lamb prices looking really good and beef, mutton, and venison also doing very well.
“The forestry sector is on pace for a third consecutive year of strong export growth with exceptional demand from China. Forestry exports are forecast to reach nearly $5.7b in 2018.”
Mr O’Connor says New Zealand’s primary industries are evolving.
“Our horticulture sectors are leading the charge in producing high-value products tailored to target markets overseas. This isn’t just true for kiwifruit, wine, and apples - there are also emerging opportunities for cherries, avocados, and berries.
“We are also seeing a huge shift to high-value products in the dairy sector. For example, infant formula exports are forecast to exceed $1b in 2018 for the first time. UHT milk, yoghurt, and other specialty products are also doing very well.
“We are a primary producing nation and it is very encouraging that the prospects for the primary industries look so bright. However, New Zealand and other primary producing nations face the global challenge of sustainability – we need to provide good quality, nutritious food for a rapidly rising global population but we must do this in a way that is sustainable.
“This means placing an even greater focus on high-value production, sustainable resource use, managing the risks posed to our primary sector by harmful pests and diseases, and meeting ever changing consumer demands.”
The news is also good for other sectors:
* Horticulture exports are forecast to grow 5.2 per cent in 2018 with broad-based growth across the sector. Wine, kiwifruit, and pipfruit are all contributing to this growth story, and there is a high level of investment supporting further growth.
* Rising prices for wild capture fisheries products and aquaculture volumes are expected to contribute to a 4.4 per cent increase in seafood exports to $1.8b.
* Honey export volumes are forecast to resume growth after a dip in 2017, while exports of innovative processed foods, including dietary supplements products, are expected to resume their growth.
Dec 7, 2017 - New Zealand has, over the last couple of years, become a hotbed of activity for both local and international agritech companies and start-ups. The growth in digital technologies and connectivity within the primary sector has enabled grassroots innovators develop revolutionary ideas for the local industry. If we looked at farming alone, 415 apps, software and smart tools are currently listed on Agri One’s national database, which tracks tools designed to help farmers manage rural businesses.
As competition ramps up within the sector, large agritech communities have developed around our traditional centres of Christchurch, Hamilton and Auckland. But the focus is not just on the New Zealand market. Local, national and international events continue to showcase the opportunities available to agritech companies throughout the globe.
MobileTECH has been a key international agritech event held in New Zealand every year since 2013. Last year, over 300 technology leaders, developers and early adopters from throughout the agricultural, horticultural and forestry sectors gathered to exchange ideas and discuss new technologies.
For the 2018 event, a large section of the programme is dedicated to improving New Zealand’s agritech ecosystem and designed to encourage industry collaboration. Callaghan Innovation, Sprout (New Zealand) and WNT Ventures are on-hand to highlight how companies and entrepreneurs are developing their products and what support structures are available.
“The critical debate though, will be how the sector can continue to grow through better collaboration. Researchers, developers, innovators, investors and industry operators can all benefit from meeting under the one roof,” said MobileTECH programme manager, Ken Wilson. “The primary sector has always been the backbone to New Zealand’s thriving economy, so it is not surprising to see the opportunities available to our agritech community”.
In addition to the NZ focus, MobileTECH 2018 delegates will also hear from Sam Trethewey, Director of the Australian agritech accelerator, SproutX. Mr Trethewey offers fresh thinking and is a passionate leader for the integration of technology within the sector.
Agriculture is the fastest growing pillar of the Australian economy. Agtech continues to play an increasingly larger role in driving its growth, from inside the farm gate, through the supply chain and into consumer markets. SproutX is leading agtech development in Australia with a large national footprint that covers communities from Perth to Hobart and up to Cairns. SproutX also runs the only early stage agtech venture capital fund in the Asia Pacific and works alongside industry bodies, farmers, government, corporates and entrepreneurs.
Mr Trethewey is excited to be addressing MobileTECH 2018. “New Zealand agriculture leads the world and it’s through events like this that we get to understand who, why and how,” he said.
MobileTECH 2018 will be running on 27-28 March 2018 in Rotorua, New Zealand. Further details can be found on the event website, www.mobiletech.events.
Dec 7, 2017 - Synlait Milk (NZX: SML; ASX: SM1) has today officially opened its new Wetmix kitchen, which will enable it to simultaneously run both large-scale infant formula spray dryers. This will double the amount of infant formula powder which can be produced at the Dunsandel site, from 40,000 metric tonnes (MT) to 80,000 MT per year.
“We were at the point where our current Wetmix facility was at capacity, and our consumer demand was continuing to grow. Building this new Wetmix kitchen will relieve that pressure,” says John Penno, Managing Director and CEO.
Synlait has invested $37 million in the new Wetmix kitchen, which is at the core of the production process.
It’s where the dry ingredients (such as dairy proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals) are mixed into the liquid milk. That mixture is then sent to the dryer, where it is dried into infant formula base powder.
Mixing the dry ingredients into the liquid milk before drying ensures a superior blend quality.
The project has been in planning since December 2015 and contractors began work on site in February 2017. At times there were up to 125 contractors on site per day, but the construction of the Wetmix kitchen did not disrupt the activities of other areas on site.
“We’re really happy with how the build went,” says Mr Penno “it was a smooth process which was completed on time and within budget, without the need to alter our day-to-day operations.”
Designed with staff in mind, some manual steps (e.g. lifting and tipping large bags of ingredients) have been reduced with the help of automation. This creates a safer environment and provides operational efficiencies.
“It was really important for us to make this new facility as user-friendly as possible. We want our employees to be safe at work, and to work under the best possible conditions,” he says.
New management team at Corson focused on extending its maize-based product mix.
NEW BOSS: Daniel Prenter became Corson chief executive in July, after 19 years in food production and food packaging for the meat, horticulture and dairy sectors. He is originally from Hawke’s Bay. Picture by Liam Clayton The continuing trend towards healthy, safe food is helping to propel Gisborne-based food ingredients company Corson into the future.
Armed with a new management team and dedicated product development manager, Corson plans to capitalise on the immense opportunities in new maize-based products and markets, says chief executive Daniel Prenter.
Eastland Community Trust would like to distribute $4.5 million to economic development projects this financial year, effectively doubling the fund it makes available for economic development in the region.
The announcement, made in August, represents a step change for the organisation, which has streamlined its approach to economic development following a review of its funding process and the amalgamation of Activate Tairawhiti. But the trust needs good opportunities to back.
ECT chief executive Gavin Murphy says the trust is entering exciting times.
“There’s a commonly held aspiration for our community – one where business thrives, whanau have access to sustainable and well-paid jobs, and communities prosper. Whether working at a regional, community or hapu level, our region is blessed with a community-held fund that can support real transformation.”
There are two funds that organisations can apply to.
The Economic Investigation and Research Fund is designed for those who have a new or innovative business idea but need to test its viability, feasibility or impact further. It’s a contestable fund with $30,000 per initiative and up to $500,000 available for distribution.
“With this fund, we hope to empower smaller or new business to make outstanding decisions and to support those initiatives that incrementally improve the business environment,” says Mr Murphy.
“We are looking to fund research and reports that enable local businesses to minimise risk, and identify and quantify opportunities for growth and job creation further down the track.”
Meanwhile, the Regional Economic Growth Fund is designed to allow ECT to deliberately intervene by investing in or supporting new and growing businesses — creating jobs and increasing GDP. The trust has made $4 million available in this fund.
In recent times organisations such as Hikurangi Bioactives have benefitted from these funding pools, with ECT supporting early-stage research and clinical trials on the Coast.
“In the long-term, these funds have the potential to ensure our community can take charge of its economic future, particularly when combined with the efforts of organisations like Hikurangi Bioactives and with the support of critical regional partners — Activate Tairawhiti, the council and iwi.”
The trust is actively seeking applications for both funds and is looking for projects with the potential to create sustainable, well-paid jobs, enhance business diversity and increase GDP, and align to the region’s key economic drivers.
Those interested can find more information at: www.ect.org.nz
“Developing new food ingredient products is our real focus.
“This will extend our current product mix supplying into the cereal, snack and bakery categories.”
Corson's a household name Corson has been a household name since Thomas Corson senior shifted here from Hawke’s Bay in 1902, in the belief Gisborne would develop faster.
The company began as a one-man grain and seed broker and manufacturers’ agent, and developed — after adding a major Queensland maize products company to the mix in 2003 — into reputedly the largest maize miller in Australasia.
Corson remains family-owned and has two family members on the board.
Mr Prenter took up the role as chief executive in July. Originally from Hawke’s Bay, he has 19 years of experience in food production and food packaging for the meat, horticulture and dairy sectors.
He was attracted to the role because of consumer trends towards healthy food choices and healthy products, and the potential maize products have within this wider trend.
“Our relatively new team is fortunate to have inherited a strong business that has been well-managed by Thomas and John Corson over many decades.
“We are extremely appreciative of the support from our loyal grower base from Wairoa and Gisborne to Tolaga Bay, which supplies 100 percent of our New Zealand maize,” Mr Prenter said.
“And we’re fortunate we have an experienced, loyal workforce of 25 in Gisborne.
“That loyalty, and skill base, enables us to consistently produce a quality product. We also enjoy strong customer relationships with New Zealand domestic and multinational markets.
“We are a business-to-business supplier.
“We don’t make consumer products ourselves, but there are some segments we don’t currently participate in. Part of our new product development agenda is identifying and filling the gaps.
“Gaining access into new markets will involve further processing of our current mill range.”
Mr Prenter said new product development manager Nicky Solomon, who has a PhD in food science, will help the company capitalise on recognised new-product opportunities.
“We have to make sure our investment decisions position us well for the evolving market.
“For instance, there is a market trend away from traditional breakfast cereals towards snack-style breakfast eating like Up&Go and snack bars. This is a something we have to move with.
“We need to stay relevant within that breakfast and snack space.”
Popcorn, Mexican food and bakery products were also growth areas, he said.
“Popcorn is a $22 million category in New Zealand. It has come into vogue and is seen now as a healthy snack food because it’s popped dry. Ready-to-eat, popped popcorn is a growth category on supermarket shelves.
“The development of the Mexican category is particularly good for us, with corn chips and tortilla being maize-based. Our grain ingredients go into products like Doritos and GrainWaves.”
Mr Prenter said one of the company’s strengths was that it mills a single variety of grain.
“So we can guarantee we are wheat-free, for instance. All our products are free of allergens, gluten and genetically modified organisms. It is a safe option from that perspective.”
'It's good for us and it's good for Gisborne' The international focus on food safety and place of origin will continue to benefit Corson.
“Food safety is an important part of our ability to build strong relationships, a strong point of difference and definitely a lever for developing opportunities in Asia. Gisborne’s — and New Zealand’s — isolation will play a strong part in the future.
“We’re exporting more from New Zealand and Australia.
“There’s huge growth and excitement for us in the Asian bakery market as people there aspire to a more Western-style diet.
“In Seoul there’s a bakery on every second corner. Five years ago, they did not exist.
“People are eating less rice and more cereals, burgers, and bakery and pastry products.”
Mr Prenter said dietary change and concern for food safety, coupled with an enormous population, equates to huge potential.