A $10 million expansion of hydroponic tomato facility Tatura Fresh will see the company more than double its production capacity and create 52 jobs.
Unveiled by State Member for Northern Victoria Mark Gepp last week, the expansion of the Midland Hwy facility has taken just eight months to complete and seen an additional 41000sqm of glasshouse built.
A further 1300sqm has been added to the existing packing shed, with an additional packing line also installed as part of the investment.
Tatura Fresh director Russell Murphy said 95 per cent of the produce grown in the business’ new greenhouse would be bound for the shelves of Coles, Woolworths and Aldi, with remaining produce sent to wholesalers.
‘‘This greenhouse alone will produce about 3.5millionkg of tomatoes a year,’’ Mr Murphy said.
‘‘We’ve added jobs in crop maintenance, packing and picking as well as about half a dozen supervisor roles (as a result of the expansion).’’
With regulated temperatures, roof ventilation and automated misting systems to cool the produce, the greenhouse remains a consistent 28°C and is highly regulated, allowing year-round production at the facility.
Completed with a $300000 grant from the Regional Jobs Fund, the construction phase of the project created up to 20 jobs, as well as contract work for engineering, land-forming and transport businesses.
Mr Gepp said the expansion was ‘‘great news’’ for the region and would see more local jobs created.
- Alana Christensen