Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Sun Shines

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Sun Shines

Article excerpt

BerryExchange had a staggering success-rate walking off with three awards at the 2009 Sunny's Business Awards.

The Corindi-based berry grower, processor and exporter and one of the region's largest employers, won The Coffs Coast Advocate Business of the Year.

BerryExchange also won the Coffs Harbour City Council Excellence in Exporting Award and the Bago Vineyards Agribusiness Award.

Company CEO Peter McPherson said while they had won categories of the Coffs Harbour business awards in the past, 'winning the big one was a bit of a surprise.'

Mr McPherson said the company had been so focused on running the now-global business in the last three years, they had not had time to enter awards, 'but this time around we thought, let's jump in'.

The company won NSW Regional Exporter of the Year in 2002 and Australian Agribusiness of the Year in 2006.

The beaming boss said BerryExchange was continuing to grow the business at Corindi and Coffs Harbour generally, adding more involvement with raspberries to its well-known dominance of blueberry growing and exporting.

They are also working closely with Woolgoolga's Oz Berries group of growers.

"We are now the biggest raspberry grower in Australia; we are working closely with the (local) Indian growers and their pack house and we are continuing to invest heavily in new varieties," Mr McPherson said.

"The benefits are reduced costs, better yield and better quality - we are now licensing and sub-licensing new varieties which taste better and we have seen staggering growth domestically in the last three years.

"The new varieties have opened up a new income stream for us because we have the best early-season varieties in the world and we are licensing them to Driscolls, the biggest berry grower in the USA and growing with Moroccan and South-East Asian customers.

"These are counter-seasonal so they are complementing, not competing.

"We own 40 per cent of the company which is doing the growing in Morocco and it will have its first harvest season in February 2010. …

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