FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Hemp Food Australia managing director Paul Benhaim.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Hemp Food Australia managing director Paul Benhaim. Contributed

Hemp Food's prospects smokin’ with export focus

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Hemp Food Australia managing director Paul Benhaim.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Hemp Food Australia managing director Paul Benhaim. Contributed

BANGALOW-BASED Hemp Foods Australia is on the verge of a potential employment boom as the company explores overseas markets.

The company is an importer and retailer of hemp-based food and nutritional products and recently invested $230,000 into a new facility at Bangalow already working near capacity.

Managing director Paul Benhaim said much of the employment projections for the business on the NSW Far North Coast rested with interest shown in the company's products by Asia and North America.

"We should have a decision in three months or so,'' he said.

"The company is going very well.

"It has its challenges but people are loving our products.

"We're struggling to keep up with current demands."

He said the company's initial expectations of increased employment had jumped from a current level of five people plus contractors to around 30 in a couple of years.

"We're confident we will become market leaders in the southern hemisphere in our specialised products,'' Mr Benhaim said.

"The potential to support Australian farmers is huge.''

Mr Benhaim, who came to Australia from England 13 years ago, said assistance and advice from NSW Trade & Investment had been invaluable in improving financial stability and credibility to move ahead. The assistance will help fund new processing equipment and the hiring of six new employees, providing impetus for the company's increased expectations.

Minister for the North Coast and Ballina MP Don Page said Hemp Foods was a prime example of the NSW Government's success in helping regional businesses move forward.

"If things go according to plan there will be a significant boost in local employment and that is always a good thing,'' Mr Page said.

"Jobs are always a priority in NSW, especially in the bush, and this government is working hard with bright initiatives to provide them.''

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional Infrastructure & Services Andrew Stoner said the performance of Hemp Foods Australia would hopefully be a story repeated in NSW as the government's strategies became established.



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