SA invests in AgriExchange’s seasonal fruit pickers

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 22nd March 2011

The South Australian State Government has announced a $620,000 investment in a Riverland fruit packing house, in a move it said would add up to $30 million to the state’s gross domestic product and create 150 casual jobs.

Regional Development Minister Gail Gago today announced that $620,000 from the $20 million Riverland Sustainable Futures Fund will fast track improvements to the AgriExchange facility at Murtho and create 150 new seasonal jobs.

Gago said the Government was contributing 50 percent of the $1.239 million project cost.

“This expansion will enable the production and marketing of one million additional cartons of citrus,” the Minister said.

“This equates to 25 percent of the Riverland’s growth target of $100 million.

“The ability to develop and supply new emerging markets such as Korea, China and Thailand will be enhanced due to improved throughput, efficiencies and capacity.

“The increased capacity will enable AgriExchange to increase seasonal casual employment by up to 150 jobs – a great outcome for the local economy.”

AgriExchange is a wholly owned subsidiary of CostaExchange Ltd.

The company’s divisional manager Richie Roberts welcomed the State Government’s support.

“AgriExchange currently produces about 40 per cent of South Australia’s citrus crop,” Roberts said.

“This expansion will reduce the amount of fruit that currently goes to Mildura (Victoria) for packing.

“It’s a good example of government and business working together to add value and stimulate regional economic growth.”

Roberts said the State Government’s support would enable the company to accelerate its expansion into new and emerging markets.

The Riverland Sustainable Futures Fund was a Labor Government election commitment, established to assist with industry restructuring and to promote sustainable economic and social development in the Riverland.

“The $20 million fund is accessible by industry and businesses to fund projects that improve infrastructure, support industry attraction and help grow existing businesses,” the Minister said.