Maungatapere Packing (MPL) became operational in mid-2021 and has been packing New Zealand Southern Highbush blueberries since August 2021. The packhouse is now gearing up to pack summer production blueberries destined for the Australian export market. MPL also processed kiwifruit male flower in November/December 2021 which is ready for growers to apply during pollination in 2022.
"The packhouse has the very latest in blueberry packing machinery from TOMRA Fresh including their brand-new LUCAi™ artificial intelligence sorting software running alongside the innovative KATO260 precision grading system, which allows MPL to sort between 350-450 berries per second using both infra-red and standard spectrum cameras," explains Patrick Malley, Director at Maungatapere Packing Limited.
"Two CURO fill by weight punnet machines provide the ability to pack into multiple pack types, grades or fruit sizes simultaneously (which is now a requirement for the larger sized varieties being grown across Northland) or just to run both punnet machines at the same time for increased capacity."
Radfords FreshPack Multi has been selected as packhouse management software, which provides visibility and traceability on packaging and packed products right through to dispatch for both domestic and export customers. The site has also been setup with the Dataphyll Grow system to electronically capture inwards information on both blueberry and kiwifruit pollen products and report this data back to growers.
"MPL is a dedicated post-harvest facility, and does not have its own growing operation, so it is completely focused on delivering value to its grower clients and growing its client base across the Northland region. We provide growers with a suite of post-harvest services, including providing harvesting equipment, packing services, harvest clearance, pest monitoring and logistics. Our goal is to deliver solutions to our customers for every step once the fruit has been picked, so if there is a problem that needs solving we want to be the ones to help solve it," said Patrick.
MPL is primarily focused on packing blueberries for domestic and export supply, and has been investing heavily in this process, but also has a kiwifruit pollen milling facility which services several growers in the Whangarei region.
There has been a period of expansion of the blueberry industry in Northland recently, with both outdoor and covered plantings occurring in different parts of the region. Previously the industry was either serviced by packhouses outside of the Northland region with long logistics channels, or with smaller grower/packer operations who are just focused on their own products.
"The continued growth of the blueberry industry in Northland was eventually going to be stifled by a lack of post-harvest providers, and MPL has been created to help cater for existing and new growing operations, and to give growers confidence in continued investment in the sector in Northland. We want growers to have certainty that there is a start-of-the-art facility, focused on packing best-practice that is ready to pack and transport their produce and bring it to market, so that they can focus on growing with confidence.
"We provide services to growers from the entire Northland region (Te Tai Tokerau) of New Zealand, which is an area of approximately 13,940km2. We have existing customers that stretch from Houhora in the far north down to Waipu in the southern part of the region.
For more information:
Maungatapere Packing Limited
Tel: +64 21 963 363