Global dairy giant Yili Group has announced the opening of its stage two development of its state-of-the-art Oceania Dairy production plant at Glenavy, South Canterbury.
The investment in Yili Oceania Dairy, including a new UHT plant, infant formula canning line, blending facilities, a whole milk powder dryer, and facilities to manufacture UHT milk products and lactoferrin, takes total investment in Oceania to more than $600 million.
The completion of the stage two development will provide a significant economic boost to the South Canterbury region, including for farmers and milk suppliers. Yili is developing a set-price mechanism for the price of milk whereby the milk price is guaranteed to improve year-on-year cashflow management for farmers.
The company is actively working with farmers in the district to augment its milk supply to meet its growing production needs. Presently, there are 67 farmers who supply milk to Oceania Dairy.
Yili Oceania Dairy is also launching a major recruitment drive having boosted employment at the plant during stage two development. Currently more than 90% of the existing staff are local residents. The company is committed to employing all workshop operators, laboratory staff, warehouse managers and administrative staff from the local community following stage two completion.
It is also plans to work with regional economic development agencies to promote local economic development.
For its China market, Yili Group has also announced a new premium PRO-KIDO Ruihu infant formula.
Yili Group Chairman, Pan Gang, said his company was fully committed to New Zealand, as evidenced by the significant and ongoing investment in Glenavy.
Yili has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Lincoln University and Oceania Dairy’s research and development manager Dr Philip Wescombe is now based at the university to assist in the establishment of a new R&D centre.
“We consider Lincoln to be one of the finest agricultural tertiary providers in the world and we think this joint venture will generate innovation to the benefit of not only Yili group but the wider New Zealand dairy sector,” Pan said.