[22 November/Radio NZ]

A new $240 million nutritional powders manufacturing plant near Gore has been officially opened. The Mataura Valley Milk plant is a joint venture between State-owned China Animal Husbandry Group, which owns 72%, Southland farmers and institutional investors. Mataura Valley Milk general manager Bernard May said the plant was running at capacity, processing about 700,000 litres of milk a day, and the first shipment of whole milk powder left in early November. He expects the plant will produce 30,000 tonnes of infant formula a year. The plant has created 78 jobs, and more than half had been filled by Southland locals, Mr May said. The economic benefit of MVM to the region is estimated to be $90 million every year – there are 27 farmer suppliers and continuing significant interest from farmers wanting to become farmer shareholders.