The Victorian Coalition Government is investing $1.5 million from the Regional Growth Fund to help a Gippsland vegetable farm Covino Farms Pty Ltd. transform into a national food company, creating up to 60 new jobs and securing 200 existing ones.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan says he is delighted to support Covino Farms’ $5.02 million expansion project.
“This project will transform Covino Farms from a farming operation into a national food business, operating out of five sites and across six states with new innovative product and export potential,” Mr. Ryan said, quoted in a media release.
“The expansion will include a new vegetable processing factory, new research and development and testing laboratories, offices, vegetable and salads processing equipment and IT infrastructure.”
With the expansion, Covino Farms would also be able to upgrade its production lines and ancillaries, such as purchasing a 3,600 bags per hour salad line and a 2,000 kg per hour multi washer preparation line, among others.
Mr. Ryan says the Longford farm now supplies vegetables and salads to markets in Victoria, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide and is negotiating to expand distribution.
“This will involve an increase in Covino Farms’ processing capacity, which requires government funding to secure the investment in time to seize market and employment opportunities.”
“Projects such as this one at Covino Farms will also enable the Latrobe Valley to diversify away from a reliance on the coal-fired power generation industry.”
The Victorian Coalition Government is funding the project through the $15 million Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure Fund (LVIIF) which is part of the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund.
“The LVIIF is helping Latrobe Valley companies reposition themselves for sustainable long-term growth,” Mr. Ryan said.
“The Regional Growth Fund has provided more than $340 million to support almost 1,200 projects across regional and rural Victoria, leveraging almost $1.5 billion in total investment.”