Seeka Ltd has announced plans to invest $18m in its Northland postharvest business during the next three years – including in new capacity, packing machines, packing shed and coolstores in Kerikeri.
Seeka chief executive Michael Franks says the investment will significantly lift capacity of the business and give growers better harvest timing across all varieties handled – kiwifruit, avocados and citrus.
The news comes after Seeka announced early-July it intended to market nine horticultural properties it owns in Northland. The properties, to be sold by tender, will have orchard management and postharvest supply contracts back to Seeka.
Land holdings include six properties recently-purchased by Seeka from Turners and Growers Horticulture Ltd and in total cover 288 title hectares.
Varieties grown on the properties include kiwifruit – Zespri SunGold, ENZAGold, EnzaRed and Hayward – along with avocados and lemons. And there’s significant bare land suitable for horticulture development.
Seeka has arranged for development to begin at Seeka Kerikeri this year with construction of a new packhouse and grading machinery to be completed in time for 2019’s harvest.
Michael says alongside this investment, Seeka is transforming information systems on-site before construction of additional coolstorage later next year. The coolstores will essentially see a doubling of the precooling and cooling capacity.
Michael says the investment sighted his commitment to the region and growers supplying their fruit to the company.
“We’re here for the long term. This investment will provide world class facilities in the heart of Northland. We want to support the communities we’re part of and contribute to the local economy through investment and employment. “The investment also delivers Seeka a competitive edge.
“We’re ensuring our local people have the right infrastructure to deliver quality, price and service in our postharvest business.”
Michael says the moves position Seeka to take advantage of the growth expectations in Northland and is consistent with their strategy for the region. The orchards’ sale process closes August 15.