Australia's number one dairy firm has announced it has opened a new office in Dubai as it targets growth in the Middle East market.
Murray Goulburn Co-operative Co Limited said the office opening would allow the company - a 100 percent dairy farmer-owned co-operative - to market its milk powders, butter and cheese to important customers and consumers in the region.
Gary Helou, managing director of Murray Goulburn, which also has offices in Tokyo, Ho Chi Min City and Singapore, said: "The new office allows MG to forge strong relationships with local ingredient processors and food service customers."
He added that the product range marketed in the Middle East would be boosted with the launch of a new range of consumer products later this year.
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is the world's second largest dairy import region, importing a combined 1.2 million tonnes of dairy produce.
Helou said the demand for dairy products was growing significantly in the MENA region, as in many other parts of Asia and that companies with access to on-farm supply were in a stronger position to service the future market growth.
"The Australian dairy industry is extremely well positioned to help meet increasing Middle Eastern demand for dairy products and contribute to food security in the region. MG, which processes one-third of Australian milk, will have a key role to play," Helou said.
"Exports of Victorian dairy products to MENA were worth AUS$285m in 2011/12, but with Australian dairy accounting for less than 10 percent share of this crucial market, MG believes there is significant untapped potential for future export growth," he added.
Victorian Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh said the establishment of the new MG office reflected major opportunities for growth in exports of Victorian dairy products to the region.
"The company recognises substantial opportunities for export growth in MENA and the establishment of a strategic business unit at its Dubai office will help drive its expanded presence in this rapidly developing market."