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The dairy industry is New Zealand's biggest export earner with earnings to the tune of $NZ 6.3 billion. NZ alone accounts for nearly 33% of world trade in dairy products in spite of restrictions and regulations of western countries. NZ is different from other countries with regard to dairy exports because it exports about 95% of its dairy production. Also, it accounts for 2% of the total world dairy production. NZ is also the world's fifth largest cheese exporter with exports worth $1.4 billion in 2006.
Major export markets for dairy products are the United States, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Mexico and China. NZ dairy products are known all over the world for their natural taste, goodness and high quality. The products are safe and made under hygienic conditions that comply with the strictest standards.
The NZ dairy industry has achieved the feat of diversifying its products as well as its export markets. Dairy products include milk powder, butter and cheese, specialty foods such as ice cream, highly specialized ingredients like spray-dried milk proteins, protein hydrolysates and freeze-dried biologically active proteins. New trends in the dairy industry are functional foods such as low fat, high calcium and protein milk and biohealth products. New Zealand is one of the leading countries in the manufacture and marketing of premium consumer dairy foods, nutritional ingredients and bio nutrients (dairy-based compounds that have pharmaceutical applications).
The dairy industry of NZ is one of the best examples of a vertically integrated, coordinated global supplier industry. The vertically integrated structure of the industry provides it with the strength to face many challenges in its environment.
New Zealand dairy companies are pioneers in the development of nutritional ingredients. The world's first milk processing plant that produces complex lipids was established in New Zealand. This experience has proved valuable for NZ companies that hold 40% of the world market for the production of lactoferrin, a nutritional supplement. The companies are also at the forefront of discoveries of new applications or new ingredients such as bovine colostrum.
Investment in Research and Development has made NZ a leading supplier of bio nutrie and bio pharmaceuticals used for cell culture and fermentation.
Investment in the New Zealand dairy industry is a lucrative option because New Zealand can help food manufacturers create and profit from new growth opportunities. New Zealand has the volumes and exporting experience needed to develop new markets.
Key investment areas in the dairy industry are low cost farming systems (efficient milk transport, genetic improvement technologies), environmental and animal welfare standards, improved bio security and disease eradication.
The NZ dairy industry gained benefits worth over NZ$ 346 million in the year 2000 thanks to the agreement reached in the last Uruguay round of global trade negotiations. The industry has set a target of 50% increase in productivity and 35% growth in milk solids by 2015 as compared to 2005.
The dairy industry in New Zealand is thriving and will continue to do so in the future. Thus, investment in this ever growing sector of NZ's economy is going to yield only profitable results.