Food processing in the Goulburn Valley is undergoing major change with multi-million-dollar new projects slated for construction this year and some iconic sites closing or being sold off.
Murray Goulburn’s Rochester factory had its final day of production last week, with the future of the site in the centre of town still unknown.
Despite depressed prices for dairy, there are new projects being planned, with Fonterra at Stanhope spending $125million this year and ACM building a new factory on a greenfield site at Girgarre.
Meanwhile SPC is selling its Kyabram IXL jams and Taylors sauces brands, manufactured on the site of what was originally the ‘‘KY’’ brand fruit factory.
On a more positive note for the SPC company, it announced its expansion into China, launching its Goulburn Valley and SPC fruit brands in that country.
The partnership between SPC and China State Farm Agribusiness Shanghai, the company’s master distributor in China, will see SPC products sold online and in supermarkets.
Committee for Echuca Moama chief executive Martin Szakal recently met with Chinese and Australian-based trade development officers on a trade trip to China.
‘‘I visited the Victorian Government office in Beijing and saw the region that will host the 2022 Winter Olympics, so tourism development and investment discussions were plentiful,’’ Mr Szakal said.
‘‘I also presented for 10 minutes to the Hebei Chamber of Commerce on the Victorian economy including exports and specific insights into central and northern Victoria.’’
Although there have been reports of strained political ties between China and Australia, Mr Szakal said Chinese businesses were open to collaboration.
‘‘Agribusiness was a key topic including the potential importation of nectarines into China,’’ Mr Szakal said.
‘‘One business was keen to understand if they could procure nectarines for their canning factory and another wanted to learn more about smart farming technology.’’
Murray Goulburn suppliers are now waiting on more information on Saputo’s offer for the company.
The company has promised a memorandum will be circulated early this year setting out details of the offer.
‘‘We continue to work with Saputo to progress towards completion of the asset sale, which includes obtaining all necessary approvals,’’ a spokesperson said last week.
‘‘At the appropriate time, an Explanatory Memorandum will be sent to shareholders with relevant details of the transaction. This will include details of the Extraordinary General Meeting for shareholders to be able to vote on the proposed transaction. We expect the transaction to be completed in the first half of 2018.’’