A $21 MILLION expansion of Kagome Australia, based in Echuca, will create 20 new jobs and help the company further contribute to the world's food bowl.
It will see Kagome move into carrot concentrate production during the winter as well as a new waste-water treatment plant and a new pouch packaging facility.
Chief executive John Brady said the expansion meant Kagome, which purchased Cedenco in 2010 to secure Australia’s last tomato processor, would be able to broaden its production capabilities and penetrate the worldwide market even further.
$21 million boost to expand opportunities
"This is part of a series of developments and part of our longer term plan," he said.
"We hope to develop northern and regional Victoria, as well as help the government address its national aim to contribute to the food basket in Asia."
Mr Brady said not only would the expansion create 20 new jobs, but would also mean current staff would be retained during the winter months.
"The season remained relatively dormant during winter months but the carrot production will see activity all year round," he said.
He said Kagome saw continuing growth opportunities well into the future.
"With 9.5 billion people expected to be in the world by mid-2050, and 5.5 billion within an easy shipping distance from Australia, there is a definite growing demand," he said.
"We are very small in a global sense, with some companies producing 14 million tonnes and us producing 300,000 tonnes a year.
We hope to ... address the national aim to contribute to the food basket in Asia.
"But our product to plate nature sets us at an advantage."
Acting Premier Peter Ryan said the Coalition government gave Kagome significant financial assistance to ensure the investments in Victorian agriculture became a reality.
“Kagome Australia estimates it will be able replace 7000 tonnes of
imported tomato paste, worth about $6.5 million, after its upgrades," he said.