The Ying County hub will comprise five 3000-cow farms. It is expected to be in production in the second half of 2014 and is the next step in the company’s strategy to produce one billion litres of milk in China by 2020.
In a press statement, Fonterra President of Fonterra Greater China and India, Kelvin Wickham, said: “This is a key part of our strategy to become a more integrated dairy business in China and to contribute to the growth and development of the local Chinese dairy industry. Having secured the right location in the Shanxi province we are now able to approach potential strategic partners.
“Ying County provides an ideal environment for us to expand our farming operations due to its new agricultural zone, proximity to customers and the high quality supply of animal feed available in surrounding areas.”
Fonterra is set to employ more than 500 people in Ying County, of which around three quarters will be local employees, it said.
“The second hub builds on our existing investment in Hebei Province and will help us to meet customer and consumer demand for high quality fresh milk in China. Raw milk supply growth in China has been around two per cent over the past three years but demand is growing at around six to eight per cent. So there are significant opportunities for Fonterra to help bridge this supply gap by growing our own domestic milk supply in China and continuing to import our high quality finished dairy products.”
When fully operational, Fonterra’s two hubs will together aim to produce up to 300 million litres of milk per year.