A new $4.9million fresh produce X-ray treatment facility in Melbourne is expected to reduce the cost of horticultural exports by 10 per cent, according to the Department of Agriculture.
The investment, announced by agriculture minister Jaala Pulford last week, will see the multi-million-dollar facility opened by decontamination processor Steritech at the Melbourne Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market in Epping.
Ms Pulford said the investment was a win for the industry.
‘‘This is a massive win for growers across our state, a boost for jobs, exports and a Victorian first,’’ she said.
‘‘The new facility will significantly reduce transport and handling costs and further boost Victoria’s growing $1.1billion horticultural industry.’’
The project will involve the construction of a 3396sqm warehouse, buildings and coolrooms at the Melbourne Markets, with the final facility designed to reduce costs and improve profitability for producers by no longer requiring them to send fruit bound for export to Queensland for treatment.
Victorian Farmers Federation president David Jochinke welcomed the announcement, which he said would ensure the industry remained competitive in the global market.
‘‘The facility will help our Victorian producers meet the growing international demand for fresh horticulture product, while also extending the shelf life of their produce,’’ he said.
‘‘When the plant is up and running, our producers no longer need to transport export-bound produce all the way up to Queensland for treatment, which doesn’t just reduce transport and handling costs, but has the added benefit of lowering product wastage.’’