Fruit supplies delay factory
A SHORT supply of fruit has delayed plans for Grove Juice company's move to Warwick.
The company had hoped to have the construction of its new $3 million Warwick factory finished and operational by next month, but the 5000sqm block at Kenilworth St is still empty.
Grove managing director Greg Willis said their development had to be pushed back while fruit supply caught up.
“We're just struggling at the moment. As an industry there's just no fruit available and there have been a few things we've had to put on hold,” he said.
“The plan is still in place though to open up in Warwick.”
Mr Willis said the reduced fruit supply “had nothing to do with the floods” but was a result of ongoing drought in late 2009.
“The drought in the Riverina hit when the fruit was setting and that has dictated how much fruit we get now,” he said.
Developer for the Kenilworth St blocks, TRE Developments' Dave Cooke, said another reason for the delay in construction was settling on property purchases.
“(Grove Juice) bought another big property to grow more oranges and bought another block on Kenilworth St where they're going to move the whole process up there,” he said.
“The purchase of the second block settled on Monday and they wanted to wait for that block so they could build it together.”
Mr Cooke said he anticipated construction work to begin in about four weeks.
In November last year, Mr Willis told the Daily News Grove's Juice had chosen Warwick as suitable site for its processing factory because of its geographical proximity.
“It was affordable land, close enough to Brisbane to manage and closer to our plantings at Moree and others in Queensland and New South Wales,” Mr Willis said.
A Grove Juice apple juicing plant was built in Applethorpe last year as a processing trial before the operations would be moved to Warwick.
The firm looked at a larger factory in Stanthorpe but the large amount of citrus fruit transported through Goondiwindi made Warwick a more viable option.
The new factory will employ six people full-time and will process both citrus and apple juice.