22 Apr 2009

Organic dairy co-op to expand processing capacity

1:03 pm on 22 April 2009

An organic dairy co-operative plans to expand processing capacity in the North Island, to cope with demand from overseas for its products.

The NZ Organic Dairy Co-operative in Taranaki has been running since 2004, using a third party to process the milk into cheese for export until now.

Supply manager Russell Simmons says the co-operative is in the process of converting an old cheese factory at Okato, so that it can process its own product for the first time.

He hopes the factory will be functioning in late July in time to process for the up-coming season. It's expected that 22 million litres of milk will be processed in the first year.

However, Mr Simmons acknowledges the current arrangement won't be suitable long-term and says the group could handle about 50 more suppliers almost straight away.

He says the co-operative is looking to expand the range of its products, which have so far been for the export market.

He hopes to have products in New Zealand supermarkets next year.