8 Oct 2009

New dairy plant proposed for South Waikato

6:58 am on 8 October 2009

Dairy farmers and South Waikato township have been told a large new dairy processing facility may be built at Arapuni.

Developer Zoagn Ltd is planning a $100 million milk powder processing plant at the township.

It says the new plant is likely to take a year to build but should be ready to start producing an estimated 37,000 tonnes of milk powder a year by August 2011.

Zoagn says it is yet to apply for resource consent but a series of meetings, the first held on Wednesday, is the first step in the consultation and consents process.

The entity that will own the plant, the South Waikato Processing Facility, says it has had interest from both local and overseas investors, but has not specified who will fund the factory.

Commercial director Richard Stapel says ideally the company would source its milk from 90 farmers within 50km of the site.

Federated Farmers Waikato president and Fonterra supplier Stew Wadey says it is an exciting project for the community as it offers 70 jobs, but as far as dairy farmers are concerned it is not clear whether another processing plant is needed for the area.