A sample of an animal food product has led to an agreement between a Whanganui company and Japan's biggest animal product distributor.
MP Agro president and CEO Tomohiko Kimura took an interest in Whanganui's Vitapower after he was given a sample of one of its animal nutrition products to try on his own pet.
He was impressed and this week Kimura and members of his distribution and marketing teams visited Whanganui to sign a distribution agreement with Vitapower for their small animal and bovine products.
Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall joined representatives from Vitapower to welcome the visitors.
Vitapower director Ruth Palamountain said it followed a visit she and marketing manager Tanya Richardson made to Japan last year to do a presentation about their company's products.
"They have been considering taking our products for the last 12 months and have come out to see the manufacturing facility and how the products are placed in New Zealand.
"We are so honoured to have such a high-powered business come out to Whanganui and buy our products."
The MP Agro team visited Massey University which has helped with development and scientific testing of the products and uses them in its feline centre, as well as some veterinary practices and a Taranaki farm to see cattle being drenched.
"MP Agro is big in agriculture and has many subsidiaries including pharmaceuticals and other things outside animal products," Palamountain said.
"Signing the distribution agreement is another link into Japan from Whanganui where we already have a sister city [Nagaizumi-cho]."
MP Agro has an annual turnover of JPY 60 billion ($786 million) and employs more than 500 people throughout Japan.
"They were really interested in the technology out of Massey and being innovative really ticked the boxes with them," Richardson said.
Vitapower employs 12 staff plus contractors and has more than 15 equine, small animal and agricultural products, with continuing research and development to create new markets and product applications, Richardson said.