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$5.3 million for Southland producers - Shane Jones

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Two Southland businesses will receive loans from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) to boost production and take on more local workers, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced.

The PGF will provide up to $5.3 million for Alliance Group Limited’s meat processing facility and Drysdale Hydroponics’ vegetable growing business.

"These businesses are in line with Southland’s priority to diversify its economic base, and will create new jobs during construction and in the longer-term," Shane Jones said.

"Alliance Group Limited (AGL), a farmer owned co-operative meat processing company, will receive a $2.8 million loan to assist with the conversion of its Lorneville venison processing plant to include beef processing. This will provide its workers with a 10-12 week longer work season and will also create up to 20 new jobs.

"This expansion brings several benefits to the region, including more jobs, upskilling of new and existing staff and increased beef processing capacity in Southland during the peak season which will increase staff earnings through enabling a longer processing season.

"The conversion of AGL’s plant will start in a few months and will create jobs for approximately 100 people on the construction site, including jobs for designers and engineers over an eight-month construction period.

"Drysdale Hydroponics will receive a loan of up to $2.5 million towards the expansion of its existing hydroponic vegetable growing operation into producing a more diverse range of hydroponically grown produce, which includes tomatoes, capsicums, strawberries and micro-greens.

"The 16-year old horticulture business supplies local wholesalers, supermarkets, as well as businesses preparing food for sale, such as cafes and caterers.

"Two new greenhouses, a pack house and staff amenities will be built, with work starting within the next two months. A total of 30 new jobs will be created at the business, 17 of which will be added in the first six months of operation.

"Southland needs a wider variety of food production other than beef and dairy, sheep and root-stock vegetables for commercial supply. Drysdale Hydroponics has proven it can commercially produce lettuce and other leafy greens in Southland.

"This will be a great asset to the region where demand for fresh, locally grown produce can often outstrip supply. Produce not produced in Southland needs to be airfreighted from the top of the North Island, at considerable extra economic and environmental cost to both growers and consumers.

"Both businesses we’re supporting today are proud Southland entities and their respective expansions will quite rightly benefit locals," Shane Jones said.

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