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Kiwi demo farm will improve millions of lives: President of Colombia

Kiwi demo farm will improve millions of lives: President of Colombia

The President of Colombia told those who attended the opening of the first NZ-Inc. dairy demonstration farm in the high tropics yesterday, that New Zealand's help in bringing best practice farming knowledge, animal and pasture genetics to Colombia will improve the lives of millions.

President Juan Manuel Santos opened Waikato farm development organisation Dairy Solutionz (NZ) Ltd's 117ha, 350-cow demonstration dairy farm in south Colombia yesterday (NZDT).

The farm is owned by Corpoica and situated in the Narino region of south Colombia 2800m above sea-level at which altitude the weather is a similar climate to the Waikato region.

"What we are doing today will have a great impact not just in the Narino region, but also the whole country, especially in our rural and dairy farming communities," said President Santos at yesterday's opening.

"The New Zealanders are perhaps the most efficient producers of milk in the world, and we are working with them, in order to get the necessary knowledge, technology and good practices for our farmers and milk producers to become more efficient at a global level."

Dairy Solutionz has been working in Colombia since 2012 and has been actively developing the demonstration dairy farm for the past 18 months.

"Having President Santos officially open our farm was a huge honour. It's a great endorsement for the Kiwis and Colombians working on the farm and others back here in New Zealand who have played a part in the establishment of this unique project," said Dairy Solutionz chief executive Derek Fairweather.

"The $2m development was funded by the Colombian government and Corpoica, which is the equivalent of our crown research institutes here in New Zealand.

The farm, which uses entirely New Zealand design and technology, employs Dairy Solutionz Kiwi farm manager Paul Gibson.

The project directly benefits 14 New Zealand businesses through exports. The farm will also serve to establish proof of profitability, which will lead to increased technology exports in the future as these create value for Colombian farmers.

New Zealand companies involved in supplying the Dairy Solutionz demonstration farm project are Leask Engineering, Read Industrial, Gallagher, TruTest Milkhub, TruTest DTS, Jobe Valves, Iplex Pipelines, LIC, Aghub, Shoof International, McKee Plastics, Harvest Electronics, Numedic and Dairy & Beef Solutionz Latam.

Dairy Solutionz is also active in Pakistan, Ecuador and America and currently has more than $20m of tropical builds, and a similar value of tropical projects under development in the near future.

-ENDS-

CAPTION: (From left) President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos, Corpoica chief executive Juan Lucas Restrepo, Edwin Castro Rincón of Agro-research, Dairy Solutionz (NZ) Ltd. Obunoco farm manager Paul Gibson and Dairy Solutionz NZ (Ltd) farm engineer Nelson Medina.