BINDOON is home to the largest citrus packing facility in WA, following the launch of the Moora Citrus Packers new $7 million pack shed recently.
Moora Citrus Packers is a joint venture between Moora Citrus and the Kay, Gillon, Yildiz, Brennan and Middleton families.
With 6300 square metres of floor space, the shed boasts state-of-the-art technology which will enable fresh citrus to be washed, waxed, treated, cooled, graded and packaged for domestic and export markets.
Moora Citrus orchard manager and Moora Citrus Packers co-owner Shane Kay said the shed would help cater for an increase in orange and mandarin production from Moora Citrus’ 210 hectare orchard.
“It will help alleviate a shortfall in packing capacity in the growing regions north of Perth and also streamline and bring together under one roof all of the necessary procedures we need to be able to cater for the needs of domestic market,” Mr Kay said.
“We’ll be able to pack specifically to the requirements of our domestic wholesalers and retailers.
“As an extension to that, the building has been designed as an export packing facility and we’ll be able to package, cool, inspect, load and deliver to port to some of the premium markets around the world that have got Australian citrus so much in demand.
“It’s designed for our fruit and any other fruit from other growers in the region that would be interested in embracing exports.”
Mr Kay said while supplying the domestic market with locally-produced fruit was Moora Citrus’ priority, there was an extensive opportunity in premium export markets such as China, South Korea and Thailand.
He said since Moora Citrus began supplying international markets with its produce three years ago, exports had risen dramatically.
“We started off with one sea container, then we went to 17, and then we went to 70 so we’re on a pretty steep growing curve with it,” Mr Kay said.
“It is all positive – every time you go to China the interest and the demand is huge.
“We’ve sent fruit to Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia and a small amount to Singapore so we’ve got relationships building up in those markets, we see a huge potential.”
Mr Kay said the sophisticated sorting technology would enable Moora Citrus Packers to provide a more consistent product to WA consumers and export markets.
The technology will see up to 600 pieces of fruit graded each minute, with each fruit photographed 40 times.
The advanced software grades each fruit by size, colour, shape and blemish which combine to give up to eight different grades.
He expected the new packing facility to be running next week.
Once in full production, Moora Citrus and Moora Citrus Packers will have a joint turnover of $24m which the company estimates will create up to 60 jobs in the service and supply chain.
The new pack shed will generate 15 permanent jobs.