Bundaberg's Cross Family Farms has been awarded funding to construct two state-of-the-art cold rooms which will enable export opportunities.
The cold rooms will assist with supply and help meet the ever-growing demand for produce.
Consumer demand for fresh, locally grown fruit and vegetables is the inspiration behind the local horticulture growers, who deliver 10 per cent of Queensland's fresh produce, with the cold rooms partially funded by a Rural Economic Development (RED) Grant.
Sales and Compliance Manager of Cross Family Farms Clinton Phillips said the cold rooms would improve cold chain management for the business and packhouse production.
“Our current cold rooms are outdated and not efficient for the business as they cannot hold the large amount of produce we are harvesting,” he said.
“This project will increase our capacity by more than 50 per cent, improve the shelf life of the produce and enable export opportunities.”
Cross Family Farms grows a large variety of vegetables including tomatoes, snow peas, capsicum, chilli, green beans, butter beans, borlotti beans, zucchini, grey pumpkin, jap pumpkin and more.
Mr Phillips said that in the past decade, consumers appetite for fresh fruit and vegetables had increased dramatically, which is why the cold room technology was so important for horticultural growers.
“In the past decade, consumers both domestically and internationally expect to be able to purchase fresh, not frozen, fruit and vegetables all year round,” he said.
“This has led to fresh horticulture produce being chilled, packed and transported thousands of kilometres interstate, and much further to export markets from farms like ours.
“Fast chilling to target storage temperatures is a major step to successfully achieving these market expectations.”
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner MP said Cross Family Farms was one of 16 businesses to receive a RED Grant of up to $200,000 to assist with economic development in regional Queensland.
“Improving on-farm operations will help Cross Family Farms increase their vegetable production with the project expected to create up to 50 new job opportunities in the Bundaberg Region,” Mr Furner said.
“These grants are about backing our farmers to take on the world and supporting vital growth to create good jobs in traditional industries like agriculture.
“Our agriculture sector is expected to have a gross value of production of more than $23 billion this financial year, and projects like this prove there is even better to come.”
Overall, the 16 projects are expected to create more than 217 direct long-term jobs across regional Queensland.
The initial three rounds of the RED Grants program have seen funding of $10 million over three years to support more than 30 projects which have created 1,800 jobs across regional Queensland.
For more information about the RED Grant scheme visit www.qrida.qld.gov.au
The Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) administer the RED Grant scheme on behalf of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.