An NZX announcement today celebrated a partnership between Fonterra and A2 Milk Co. It also seemed to suggest that Fonterra had plans to put Chinese milk on retail shelves in Australia and New Zealand. Not surprisingly, farmers took a great interest!
Milk Maid Marian is grateful to Fonterra Australia’s Matt Watt for setting the record straight.
MMM: Fonterra’s NZX announcement states: “The partnership encompasses…Exclusive period to explore a2MC branded butter and cheese, and China sourced liquid milk for sale in Australia, New Zealand and China. These relate to other dairy products not presently marketed by a2MC and would be complementary to Fonterra’s existing portfolio of dairy products.”
Will Chinese milk be sold on retail shelves in Australia and NZ under the agreement?
MW: There are no plans to sell Chinese milk on retail shelves in Australia. The China sourced liquid milk under this partnership would be retained in China for sale there.
MMM: Which other Chinese dairy products will be sold here?
MW: No products
MMM: Why will the milk be sourced from China?
MW: For fresh milk, it makes sense to source the milk in country if possible – in China we can do this for the local market and be confident on our quality control on our farms there.
MMM: Problems surrounding Beingmate, which has a large stake in Fonterra’s Darnum plant are well publicised. Will Darnum process less nutritional product in the future?
MW: As an investor in Beingmate, we are disappointed with their performance, and this is being worked through by the Co-op as one of the higher priorities to get the investment back on track.
However, Darnum is running well and the plant is almost at full capacity which is why we’re investing to unlock more capacity. In the last two years we’ve seen nutritional volumes treble at Darnum, and this partnership with the a2MC enables us to further grow volumes with confidence.
MMM: Will farmers with A2 milk be preferred suppliers in Gippsland?
MW: We now need to work through the plan to develop the A2 milk pool here in Australia. This is an important step for us but we also need to be clear that our broader milk pool and cheese/whey/nutritionals strategy remains at the core of what we do so all suppliers of high quality milk are valued by Fonterra.