One potato, two potatoes

McCain Foods is into stage two of three of its $7.9 million storage upgrades. The new fit-out (below) allows for the storage of 7000 tonnes of potatoes, while a total of 45,000 tonnes can be stored at the Smithton site.

Plant. Stage one of three in McCain Foods’ $7.9 million storage upgrades has been completed.

By the beginning of the potato factory’s next storage season, March 2017, the Smithton plant will boast three new storage facilities.

“[We’ve] completed stage one, which was the fit-out of the old cold store,” plant manager Rodney McLaren said.

“That’s now full of potatoes and successfully operating.”

The area can house 7000 tonnes of potatoes.

“Stage two will be completed at the end of August, ready for potatoes to be put in next year.”

This area has the capacity for a further 7000 tonnes.

“Stage three will begin after August, another new storage [shed] will be built on the western boundary.”

Here, a further 5500 tonnes of potato can be stored.

“That will be the final stage, that will get the storage capacity on the site to 45,000 tonne.”

Mr McLaren said the works have “certainly brought business and investment into the community” over the past months and will continue to do so until the project’s completion.

“We’re really happy with how the project is progressing,” Mr McLaren said.

“We’re excited about the capital expenditure. We think it’s great for the industry and the community.”

The plant’s new $1.6 million packing line was installed during December 2015 and was operational by January 20 this year.

Mr McLaren said of the installation: “The project has gone to plan and we are on track with improved efficiencies as a result.”

The Smithton plant processes potatoes for french fries and potato products for the local and interstate markets.

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