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21.03.03
Cornwall's growers harvest benefits of Hayle investment

A new packaging facility built at Hayle is producing major benefits for Cornwall's vegetable growers – bringing more jobs, extra business and new opportunities for the local industry.

The £439,000 plant has been built by Riviera Produce with the help of an £88,000 Objective One grant approved in February 2002.

Work on the plant was completed in the early autumn and Riviera Produce's managing director, David Simmons, says the new facility is proving a tremendous success.

He explains: "Before we had this facility, the crops that we sourced from local growers ended up being transported to Lincolnshire for packaging – before being redistributed to ASDA supermarkets across the country.

" That transport cost resulted in lower payments for Cornish growers and meant it took longer to get our produce onto supermarket shelves, leading to more wastage.

" Now, we've got our own high-quality, modern pack house here in Hayle and it has made an enormous difference – for our own company, for our suppliers and in terms of the quality of the fresh produce that we can provide to consumers."

The building of the new plant led to ASDA agreeing to source all of its cauliflowers and cabbages from Cornwall over this winter. Mr Simmons said the extra business this has generated has led to the volume of spring greens needed by the company increasing by over 100% and the number of cauliflowers by over 20%.

Because produce can now be kept cooled from the moment it enters the plant to when it reaches the supermarket shelves, produce is of a higher quality to the consumer, also reducing wastage. Riviera Produce has also been able to expand into supplying new crops, including purple sprouting broccoli and early Swedes and parsnips, as well as strawberries in the summer months

Mr Simmons added: "ASDA are absolutely delighted with the quality of the produce we have been able to supply and have now agreed to us providing them with cabbages for the whole of the South West throughout the summer.

"This is all tremendous news, not just for our company, but also for all the local growers who supply us with produce. We're now asking our existing growers to produce more and looking at bringing extra growers on board so that we can supply the volume that we need."

Mr Simmons said that Riviera Produce has already taken on three full-time staff and a number of part-timers as a result of the increase in business generated by the new packaging facility.

He added: "Our growers will be needing to take on extra staff and expand their operations to keep up with what we're now asking them for."

The Objective One grant was provided by the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF), with match funding coming from the Department of Food, Environment & Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

 

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Editor's notes:

European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF)

EAGGF is one of the four funds that make up the Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, which is making £314 million available to support the local economy between 2000 and 2006.

EAGGF aims to:

• Help preserve the link between diversified farming and the land.

• Improve and support the competitiveness of agriculture as a key activity in rural areas.

• Ensure the diversification of the economy in rural areas.

• Help to keep communities thriving in rural areas.

• Preserve and improve the environment, the landscape and the rural heritage.

For further information contact:

David Simmons
Managing Director
Riviera Produce Ltd
01209 890127

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Jason Clark
Communications Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel: 01872 241379
Fax: 01872 241388
jason@dclark.co.uk

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