Thursday, 17 May 2012 16:42

Miraka off to a flying start

Written by 

IN JUST its first year Miraka, the new Maori-owned dairy company, is ahead of its production targets.

The major shareholders in the plant are the Tuaropaki Trust, owners of the land where the plant is built, and Wairarapa Moana, owner of at least 10,000ha in the area north of  Taupo. 

Vinamilk, Vietnams largest dairy company, has a 19% shareholding in Miraka. Other Maori trusts and individual farmers supply milk to Miraka. Tuaropaki also owns geothermal power generation used to run the plant’s 8-tonne drier.

Miraka chief executive Richard Wyeth told Rural News that next year they will be at 100% capacity – 5%  ahead of their original target. 

“Our goal was to sign up enough farmers to take us to full capacity next season and we’ve done that. We’ve had a lot of favourable responses from our farmers. We’ve had a good first season and that’s created credibility among farmers that makes them confident  to come across to Miraka as a good competitive option. 

“We did some direct marketing to farmers but word of mouth has also helped and it’s very satisfying when farmers start coming to us and are keen to join Miraka.”

Wyeth says their sales in the first year have gone remarkable well considering they didn’t start making product until August last year when the factory opened. This also meant they weren’t able to take advantage of higher prices of about $4000/tonne for whole milk powder (WMP). But since then Global Dairy Network, which sells for them, has done a fantastic job selling their products.

Wyeth says because of Miraka’s relationship with Vinamilk, a lot of Miraka’s WMP has been sold to Vietnam. “But we’ve also sold into China and other markets in South America and the US. This is mainly WMP but we have also made a small amount of skim milk powder to sell.”

In the coming season the Miraka plant will come up to full capacity, meaning it will lift production from 25,000t to close to 35,000t. 

The co-op will need to widen its customer base. “A number of our current customers have told us they want more products, which is a pretty good position, but we will spread our market. The likes of the Middle East, for example, will come on stream for us next season.”

At the same time Miraka continues to grow its links with Vietnam. A recent delegation from Vietnam, led by officials from the World Bank, visited Miraka and some of its farmer suppliers. Wyeth says the delegation wanted to see New Zealand’s milk processing and farming systems and the relationship between farmer suppliers and milk processors.


Labour pains hurt grower

Despite struggling to find workers, fresh produce grower and trader T&G is still forging ahead with growth plans.

China demands, NZ delivers

Meat Industry Association chair John Loughlin says China is one of the most demanding export markets in the world.

Machinery & Products

Making lamb marking easy

Designed by a sheep and beef farmer, Vetmarkers are made in New Zealand and sold around the world.

A big tractor needed

German cultivation and seeding manufacturer Amazone has launched a new semimounted plough range, suitable for tractors in the 400hp class.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Murky waters

OPINION: Your canine crusader knows there is a great deal of unease - especially in rural NZ - about the…


OPINION: The refusal of both Damien O'Connor and PM Jacinda Ardern to release some of the correspondence they received about…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter