Cobb-Vantress is one step closer to beginning construction on its new operation in New Zealand after a recent groundbreaking at the site. The facility is expected to create around 100 jobs and is located in Rontongaro, near Huntly, South Auckland on 368 acres (148 hectares).
At the groundbreaking, Cobb-Vantress President Joel Sappenfield expressed his appreciation for the warm welcome to New Zealand.
“We want to thank our new neighbors, new friends and old friends. We look forward to being good neighbors in this new land. I admire your beautiful country and culture, which we are very proud to be part of,” Sappenfield said.
Servicing Asian poultry industry
Cobb-Vantress’ US$40 million investment will produce grandparent chickens to breed high-value chicks which will be exported to distributors and Cobb’s own operation in China to meet expected Asia-Pacific demand.
Asia Pacific is the poultry breeder’s fastest growing region, and the new facility takes advantage of the favorable poultry health status that New Zealand enjoys. New Zealand has historically experienced lower occurrences of diseases such as avian influenza, and therefore is expected to provide a stable and lower disease-risk point of supply.
“The Cobb New Zealand project is strategically important for Cobb’s Asia Pacific region. We expect Cobb New Zealand to consistently supply genetics to most of Asia,” Pelayo Casanovas, general manager of Cobb Asia-Pacific, said.
“We have achieved our goal to be Asia’s breed of choice in the Asia Pacific broiler market. And we plan for Cobb New Zealand to further strengthen our relationships in the region and beyond.” Casanovas said.
The speeches were followed by a prayer to bless the project, the partnership and the land by local Iwi (indigenous land owners) led by Glen Tupuhi. Tupuhi and Sappenfield planted a Kauri tree which is native to New Zealand. Kauris live for thousands of years and are a symbol of longevity.
Cobb-Vantress’ New Zealand operation is expected to deliver two million grandparent chickens per year, beginning in February 2019. The New Zealand Land Information service says the export of the high-value genetic stock is likely to add some $40 million USD each year to the country’s overseas sales.