22 December 2000
NZ dairy giants to merge

By FWi staff

NEW ZEALANDS two dominant dairy manufacturing companies and a marketing company plan to merge, reports the Financial Times.

Kiwi Co-operative Dairies and New Zealand Dairy Group intend to join with international marketing group the Dairy Board.

The merged group, initially known as Global Dairy Company, claims it would handle 34% of world trade not constrained by import barriers.

The company would be farmer-owned and control 95% of New Zealands milk supplies.

Meanwhile, the same newspaper reports how Australian farmers are losing land due to high levels of salt pushing up from beneath the surface.

Imported farming practices are partly blamed for the problem as settlers cleared long-rooted native plants which absorbed moisture.

But since wide-scale clearance, salt water has been rising inexorably to the surface and rendering the land sterile.

Some producers are considering experimental crops such as saltbush, while the Government has announced an A$1.4 billion (527m) programme to tackle the problem.