Soprole – Chile was Fonterra’s early footprint in South America
New Zealand’s Fonterra is one of the world’s largest milk producers. One-third of this production comes from overseas countries. The two major suppliers are Chile and Australia but with China catching up very quickly. Unlike the other countries that Fonterra operates, in China they own the farms direct rather than just buying the milk from farmers. In
In Chile Fonterra owns a company called Soprole originally in partnership with the Catholic Church but now stands alone with full ownership. It is the largest dairy processor and marketer in Chile with a market share of around 30%. There is a start up operation in Brazil but to date Chile is the flagship for Fonterra in South America. One of the major suppliers of milk for Soprole is a Dairy Farm ( around 28,000 ha ) called Manuka which is domiciled close to the city of Osorno in the south of Chile. It is owned predominantly by New Zealand shareholders, many of who are closely connected to Fonterra itself.
Although it struggled in early stages of development due a lack of understanding of the challenges of operating in a foreign country it has more recently under Chilean management become a huge success story. This success has drawn many New Zealanders and European to the region to piggyback on Manuka’s success. GTSA has been very active in the region with a wide range of suitable farms available for dairying.
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