In a packhouse in Ettrick, Otago, some of the latest New Zealand and Dutch pipfruit sorting and packing technology has been installed. Packhouse post-harvest manage,r Jackie van der Voort, says it was done to encourage greater efficiencies and productivity without losing staff.
Damien O'Connor, Minister for Agriculture, inaugurated the spectacular technology upgrade at the CAJ van der Voort packhouse in front of about 160 people on Friday evening.
Ms Van der Voort said as the company's new plantings in Teviot Valley and Earnscleugh came on-stream, there would be a 50% increase in fruit volume so new technology was required to handle the additional capacity. They would also retain their 85 to 90 staff.
Ms Van der Voort said the installations were the third of their four-stage project. The first stage of the upgrade in 2016, included providing better staffing facilities. ''Stage two was when we expanded the shed, added 70m and a canopy in 2017,'' she said.
Stage three includes the installation of a Dutch 14-lane Greefa Geosort system, which can produce about 2500 cartons an hour, which is an increase of 60% in production. They also upgraded all plant equipment and infrastructure.