New partnership to put Woopi on map
LOCAL blueberry farmers have welcomed news of an 850ha multinational blueberry farm to be developed on the Mid North Coast in the next two years.
Oz Group Co-op chairman Gurmesh Singh congratulated North Coast blueberry grower Harjap Dosanjh on his latest venture, which could create up to 1200 jobs across the region.
"The new venture looks interesting and we wish them well," Mr Singh said.
"Mr Dosanjh's comments regarding opening new export markets are welcome and well received.
"We hope this new venture will work closely with our peak industry body, the Australian Blueberry Growers Association and contribute towards the voluntary industry levies which fund programs to open these export markets."
Mr Dosanjh, a long-time Woolgoolga local, forged a partnership with Canadian businessman Luigi Aquillini about a year ago.
Canada's historic expertise in blueberry growing is something Mr Dosanjh hopes will help Australia's younger industry continue to thrive.
In particular, Mr Dosanjh is confident the farm - slated to be built near Waterview Heights - will have a strong flow-on affects for Woolgoolga.
"Woopi is going to be put on the map here in a really big way," he said.
Mr Aquilini's company, Golden Eagle Berries, recently bought the Grafton Abattoir, which it plans to use for cold storage and packaging of the fruit.
Cold storage also prepares the fruit for overseas export as it kills fruit fly larvae, which is a precondition before it can be shipped to countries like Japan.
From Tasmania to North Queensland and as far as Western Australia, Mr Dosanjh said Australia's interest in blueberries isn't slowing down.
"There's massive interest in blueberries, it is a highly profitable crop," he said.
The new venture reflects Mr Dosanjh's business transition to larger trade on a global commercial scale.
He hopes it will lead to other ventures beyond blueberries in the future but for now, Mr Dosanjh is focusing on getting his new multinational blueberry farm up and running.
Moving forward, Mr Dosanjh said the multinational partnership aims to fuel the local economy and drive investment in blueberries in the region.