4 June 2024

She's apples: Batlow Fruit Company finishes upgrades following bushfires

| Jarryd Rowley
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The Batlow Fruit Company has finished upgrades to its packaging facility, allowing it to ship more apples each year. Photo: Dr Joe McGirr.

Upgrades to the packhouse of Australia’s largest apple distributor will allow the Batlow Fruit Company (BFC) to deliver a record amount of fruit.

After receiving $2.7 million from the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund, BFC began work on upgrading technology to meet modern fruit processing standards and allow it to distribute more than one million cartons of apples a year.

BFC director Matt Palise said that by upgrading the packhouse, BFC would see improvement in its efficiency, reduce its downtime and lower its water and power usage.

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“The new equipment makes us a much more sustainable operation, ensuring we can continue to deliver high quality packaging services to Batlow growers,” he said.

“The greater efficiency will help future-proof our operations and make us better able to withstand disruptions to our supply chain caused by natural disasters. It will also provide better service for our growers, helping increase their returns.

“I want to thank the Australian and New South Wales governments for their support for this project.”

Member for Wagga Wagga Dr Joe McGirr highlighted the importance of BFC rebuilding following the Black Summer bushfires, stating that it was integral to Batlow’s growth.

“This modernisation program comes at a time when Batlow is rebuilding from the disaster of the Black Summer fires,” he said.

“The works will enhance the pipeline from Batlow’s orchards to consumers around the country and that’s great news, not only for the company and its employees but also for growers and the wider community whose future depends on a strong and vibrant apple industry.

“I’d like to congratulate the company on driving this important project and thank the State and Federal governments for their investment in the community’s future.”

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The upgrades were unveiled during the Minister for Regional NSW Tara Moriarty’s visit to Batlow last week.

Ms Moriarty explained that assisting organisations like BFC was an important part of the State Government’s commitment to regional and rural NSW.

“By modernising its processing capabilities, the Batlow Fruit Company has ensured Batlow remains a financially competitive location for growers to get their apples packaged,” she said.

“This certainty will help it maintain its existing workforce and remain the largest employer for the Batlow region.

“Batlow Fruit Company has been growing and packaging apples out of Batlow for more than 100 years and these upgrades ensure they can continue to do so for many years to come.”

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