Horticulture

New technology will reduce waste

By Country News

A Grahamvale orchard and coolstore business is set to save 600000litres of water and two tonnes of plastic from landfill a year as a result of new ground-breaking technology.

The Damianopoulos family says the new technology, which it hopes will be up and running by early next year, will help to regulate the humidity of fruit in the business’ cool room, promoting better quality and reducing food wastage.

Philip Damianopoulos, who runs the Masalki business with his brother Con, said they had already invested $700000 in technology upgrades, including in Dynamic Controlled Atmosphere cool room technology.

With a $400000 grant from Coles’ Nurture Fund, Philip said they would now be able to better preserve their apples and pears at the highest quality, while removing the need for high volume of plastic and water usage during the storing process.

Currently Masalki relies on manually controlling the humidity in cool rooms by covering crates with plastic lids and flooding the floor with water.

‘‘Consumers now expect the quality of their fruit to be 100 per cent perfect, 100 per cent of the time,’’ Philip said.

‘‘They expect it to taste amazing and look good and they want this all year-round.

‘‘This new technology will remove the impact of dehydration and ensure that the fruit comes out just as nice as the day we picked it.’’

Coles chief operating officer Greg Davis said the $5million commitment for drought-related projects brings the total amount provided by the Coles Nurture Fund to nearly $20million since April 2015.

‘‘We know the drought has been devastating for so many farmers across Australia and we’ve tried to help where we can with short-term relief,’’ Mr Davis said.

‘‘With support from the Coles Nurture Fund, we want to enable farmers to embark on projects which will help them in the long-term so they can drought-proof their businesses for the future.’’