Beetroot industry gets boost

A PLAN to save the beetroot industry in Queensland proposes a new facility to be built in the Lockyer Valley by 2014.

But the group behind it is warning a lot of work still has to be done.

Lockyer Farmers United is planning to have the proposed beetroot facility up and running by July 1, 2014, and is working with the Lockyer Valley Regional Council to find an appropriate location.

LFU president Colin Dorber said growers in the valley, which produces 90% of Queensland's beetroots, had been through a tough year after Heinz moved their processing operations to New Zealand.

"Beetroot farmers here have had a tough past year," he said.

"We've managed to sell a modest amount to Cowra, but the transport costs to get it down there have nearly strangled us."

Mr Dorber said when operational the facility would support up to 50 jobs from the paddock to wholesale.

"Without this there is no beetroot industry in Queensland," he said.

In order to operate year round, Mr Dorber said the facility would also process a second "significant" locally grown crop he was not yet able to disclose.

Mr Dorber said the proposed plant still needed substantial investment, however, he was hopeful the business plan was strong enough to attract the needed money.

"We have a business plan by a very trusted consulting firm (Urbis Planning) that we believe is very strong," he said.

"It's a common sense-based business plan.

"We're negotiating with the Lockyer Valley Council who are helping to identify an appropriate site."

Mr Dorber stressed the facility was still a work in progress, despite the positive outlook.

"There is a lot of work still to be done," he said.

"I believe the business plan is strong enough to see this project become successful."


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