Orchardist AGRIFresh steps up

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Bob GarnantCountryman
DPIRD director general Ralph Addis presented the department's economic development award to AGRIFresh managing director Joseph Ling.
Camera IconDPIRD director general Ralph Addis presented the department's economic development award to AGRIFresh managing director Joseph Ling. Credit: Countryman

West Midlands orchard operators AGRIFresh won the Economic Development Award at the WA Regional Achievement and Community Awards held in Perth on December 3.

AGRIFresh managing director Joseph Lings said what would have gone wrong this year, went wrong.

“We usually have 110 staff, we were struggling to get 65, we usually export hundreds of containers, but this year they were stuck in Dubai and Hong Kong,” he said.

“Somewhere during the COVID, our team, instead of buckling up, decided to step-up and do something different.

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“In the end, we incorporated with major supermarkets to be able to deliver some of the best fruits to WA to move more than what we could in the past, so it was a record year.”

AGRIFresh’s award, which recognises the efforts of the businesses and not-for-profit sectors to drive economic growth and jobs, was sponsored by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

DPIRD director general Ralph Addis congratulated AGRIFresh on its achievements, which he said exemplified the innovation and tenacity of WA’s regional businesses.

“AGRIFresh has taken just 15 years to build a successful integrated citrus and mango orchard business, including growing, packing and marketing, which now exports to 15 countries around the globe,” he said.

“From a family owned and operated business of two, AGRIFresh now employs more than 80 people, with at least three quarters located in the West and Central Midlands near its orchards, stimulating the local economy and further business opportunities.

“The business has defied the limitations of COVID-19 and installed an 8000 square metre packing facility and is on track to generate $5 million in revenue in 2020.”

Gingin-based West Coast Honey was awarded the Ricoh Australia Customer Service Award.

West Coast Honey was founded in 2003 and has built honey extraction facilities to provide an environment for education and learning for the general public and to sell beekeepers’ honey.

Owner and manager Tina Mettam, who took over the business five years ago, has set up a small cafe offering homemade cakes and treats and barista coffees and cold drinks.

The business prides itself in communicating promptly, professionally and kindly with all customers so they receive the information and service they require.

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