22 Feb 2011

Farmers welcome upgraded vegetable processing plant

8:42 pm on 22 February 2011

Farmers in Hawke's Bay say a $19 million upgrade of McCain Foods' vegetable processing plant in Hastings will provide opportunities to grow a wider range of crops.

The upgrade includes a new processing line that can handle more than 5000 tonnes of beans and will create 70 new seasonal jobs.

The plant will be able to process more than 50,000 tonnes of peas, beans, corn and carrots a year.

Phil King, who farms at Tikokino in central Hawke's Bay, says McCain's expansion into beans gives farmers the opportunity to grow and harvest a crop of peas, followed by a crop of beans, all within six months.

Farmers in the Bay have not had the opportunity to grow beans for processing since Heinz Wattie shifted its production of that crop from Hawke's Bay to Canterbury more than 20 years ago.