30 Jan 2012

Landcorp to manage Crafar farms

1:18 pm on 30 January 2012

Landcorp doesn't anticipate any show stoppers halting its management of the Crafar farms for a Chinese buyer.

The Government last week approved the sale of the 16 dairy farms to Shanghai Pengxin, on the Overseas Investment Office's recommendation.

The North Island farms span 8000 hectares and were placed in receivership two years ago.

Landcorp chief executive Chris Kelly says a contractual arrangement to manage the farms was finalised over the weekend.

That's been given to Landcorp's board for approval and will be presented on Monday to Shanghai Pengxin, who approached the state-owned farming company to run the farms.

Mr Kelly says it should be smooth sailing.

"It's not sewn up yet, we've yet to get board approval on the final agreements. But there are no substantive issues I believe that are likely to be show stoppers", he says.

A condition of sale to Shanghai Pengxin is the establishment of an on-farm training facility for dairy farm workers.

Mr Kelly says he's keen to get that underway because of a concern about a skills shortage in farming, particularly dairy farming.

He says the new facility will be based on an existing Landcorp training facility for dry stock farms.

Mr Kelly says Shanghai Pengxin will construct the building and Landcorp will assist them to run it.

Over the past two years 69,000 hectares of farmland have been approved for sale to foreign interests.

Crafar receiver Korda Mentha says the deadline for the Shanghai Pengxin offer to become unconditional remains Tuesday.