Goulburn Valley fruit growers will soon have access to a new state-of-the-art packhouse as the A$60m transformation of the old SPC Ardmona facility progresses.
According to a report from the Shepparton News, the FruitCo project – which includes A$15m funding from the federal government and further investment from Geoffrey Thompson, which owns the site – is expected to be operational by early 2022.
Fruit packer Geoffrey Thompson purchased the site in 2016 and the federal government committed funding for the FruitCo project in 2019.
The high-tech facility will feature a 35m tall automated storage retrieval system (ASRS), three sizing and grading lines and seven packing lines.
Michael McCormack, Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister, visited the site in April and said the project would be good for market opportunities and the Goulburn Valley.
“(It’s) a 35m tall building which is going to provide such an opportunity to optimise each and every individual piece of fruit,” said McCormack.
Peter Thompson, director of Geoffrey Thompson Fruit Packing, said there had been widespread support from both growers and the wider community for a facility such as FruitCo to be established in the Goulburn Valley.
“This new technology will revolutionise the packing process, increasing returns from the farm-gate to fruit growers supplying domestic and export markets,” Thompson said in 2019.