Government launches programme to grow lucrative goat milk industry

Cows aren't the only ones milking New Zealand's infant formula industry. Now there's another kid on the block.

A new $30 million Government innovation programme unveiled on Tuesday is looking to grow the goat milk market in New Zealand - particularly the lucrative infant formula market. 

While breastfeeding is recognised as the best source of nutrition for babies, some mothers who can't do it are turning to goats' milk - mum's like Abi Tubbs whose five-month-old son Oscar had colic, uncontrollable crying in an otherwise healthy baby. 

"He'd scream uncontrollably, he was inconsolable and through the process of elimination we came to goats milk and it's been amazing," Ms Tubbs told Newshub. 

Dairy Goat Co-operative chief executive David Hemara says goat milk has a "different protein structure, so there are some infants who don't tolerate conventional formulas but goat milk can make a really big difference to them". 

But goat milk comes at a premium. Ms Tubbs pays $44 for a can, and on average it costs 60 percent more than cows' milk formula. 

The aim is to target both New Zealand and overseas consumers by increasing dairy goat numbers in the long term by 50 percent to more than 100,000. 

The programme was launched on Tuesday in Hamilton by Minister of Agriculture Damien O'Connor.

It's expected to create 400 new jobs and almost double export revenue across the dairy goat milk industry to $400 million a year over the next five years.