A planned coolstore and packing shed in Ardmona is likely to be ready for use by the start of 2019.
Prima Fresh Orchards & Cool Stores has budgeted about $15million towards the project, which will allow Prima Fresh to expand its operations.
‘‘We currently do storage and packing apples, pears, nectarines, cherries, peaches, apricots and plums,’’ Prima Fresh director Gerard Alampi said.
‘‘We do a lot of out-source packing. With this project, we can do all that under one roof. It’s more streamlined and we have more control of our destiny.
‘‘We will now be able to keep what we would normally be out-sourcing, in the Goulburn Valley.
‘‘We out-source a lot of production which is a lot of road miles and double and triple handling. We can cut all that out now.’’
Mr Alampi said the extension, which will be located on a former nut orchard on the corner of Ardmona Rd and Midland Hwy, would be good news for the Goulburn Valley and the horticulture industry.
‘‘The industry is in hardship — costs are going up, fruit prices have stagnated or are less. It has been a struggle but this could help consolidation and give ideas to other packers,’’ he said.
It is not just the Goulburn Valley that will benefit, with the company looking at other places who want fruit packed and stored.
‘‘We do that already and we are looking at growing that side as well. We have growers in NSW and we’d like to do more but currently we can’t take on any more,’’ Mr Alampi said.
Construction is expected to start in November.