New tech at farm to create 30 jobs
THE installation of new Australian-first technology at a Granite Belt farm will help ease the worsening job crisis in the region.
Up to 30 direct and indirect jobs are expected at Kool Country Packers after the business received a state government grant.
KCP processes fruit from four local farms, but their current processing systems are not able to keep up during peak harvesting seasons.
Now, the packing shed is set to install Australia's first blemish, colour and weight tomato recognition system.
KCP director David Andreatta said the purchase of the New Generation Inspectra2 Tomato MLS Grader would allow the business to keep up with consumer trends and increase their daily throughput.
"Food retailers are becoming very demanding over the quality of the produce they buy so it's important we stay up to date with those demands," Mr Andreatta said.
"This new technology will help us to deliver fruit more efficiently, leading to less wastage and better prices as the new system will be able to recognise the fruit at its optimum level of 'ripeness' by using colour, weight and blemish recognition."
Every piece of fruit that passes through the system is captured over 500 times through sensors and cameras that can be configured to target specific defects.
"Our current grading system is nearing the end of its life and struggles to keep up with our throughput during the peak seasons," Mr Andreatta said.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the $250,000 Rural Economic Development Grant would help expand and grow jobs.
"The new tomato recognition system will potentially provide year-round employment for current workers and create 30 new direct and indirect positions after installation," Mr Furner said.
The jobs' boost comes at a difficult time for the local job industry after 42 jobs were culled from Costa Group's mushroom farm at Glen Aplin.
The company shut the doors, blaming the drought conditions and opportunities in other parts of the country.