Economic development organisation Venture Southland hopes
to know soon whether it has been able to attract external
funding for an ambitious project to develop a high-value oat
production and food processing industry in the province.
The project could eventually include establishment of an oat
In October, the Venture Southland joint committee approved
$50,000 to help fund market investigations and the
development of an agronomic model for future oat processing
Enterprise services manager Alistair Adam said last week
Southland ''produced oats very well''. About 70 farmers grew
the grain, mainly for processing into breakfast cereal at the
Harraways plant in Dunedin, as well as for stock food.
The aim was to increase production and develop processing
options within the province.
That could include processing oats into breakfast cereal
locally and potentially into nutraceuticals and
pharmaceuticals. An oat milk processing plant, a long-term
aim, could cost $30 million to $50 million or more.
The agronomic model would include typical crop rotations,
yield predictions, costs, and optimal growing systems. A
business opportunity profile and an industry business case
would also be developed.
The overall project, including the appointment of a project
co-ordinator, is expected to cost $350,000, plus stakeholder
The $50,000 was initial seeding money which Venture Southland
was using to approach other organisations such as New Zealand
Trade and Enterprise and Callaghan Innovations for financial
''The $50,000 is a great way of showing faith in the
potential of oats ... and a commitment from Southland,'' Mr
Decisions on whether the project could proceed were expected
to be made by the middle of next year and the money would
''help firm up what that decision might look like,'' he said.
Mr Adam said oat milk production had potential as an export
earner for Southland.
''The aim is to develop an export market in ... Asia
particularly, because many Asians are lactose intolerant and
oat milk contains no lactose.''
It was hoped to use the oat project funding to thoroughly
investigate the potential of the oat milk market, which
Venture Southland hoped would help attract an investor for a
• A liquid similar to cow milk made from
fermented oat grain
• Can be used as a direct substitute for cow,
goat or soya milks
• Has lower protein and higher carbohydrate
content than cow milk
• Contains no lactose
• Is a low-gluten product, but not
• Can be drunk plain or flavoured, or used in
cooking and baking
• Often used as a non-dairy alternative to cream
in dishes such as pasta sauce or chocolate mousse. No oat
milk plants in New Zealand; the closest is in Australia.