A MAJOR international grain organisation has invested millions of dollars in the Wimmera and its farming community by establishing a new firm in Horsham.
Canadian-based Alliance Pulse Processors, operating company for Agtech Income Fund, has used Horsham to launch a push into Australia through its Saskcan Pulse Trading division.
It has bought Horsham's Harvest Grain Australia, which suspended trading because of the drought last December, and taken charge of the company's Golf Course Road property, plant and equipment.
The new firm will operate as Australia Milling Group and initially employ a staff of 11, a figure that might double on completion of significant capital work at the site in the next 12 months.
Agtech Income Fund, which has strong Turkish as well as North America grain-business connections and operations, operates six global processing plants. Its primary business is to buy, process and sell pulses and specialty crops.
Australia Milling Group and former Harvest Grain Australia manager Russell Greening said the deal was an exciting development for the Wimmera.
"They have shown a lot of confidence in the Wimmera. They are specialists in processing grain pulses, not just bulk export," he said.
"That means producing a food- grade product for a consumption market."
Mr Greening said an example of how the organisation produced a high- value product through processing had occurred with Canadian-grown green lentils.
"The lentils have been milled into flour and exported to Italy where the largest pasta-manufacturing business in the country has introduced it to their product to boost protein levels," he said.
Canada, Australia and the United States are among the world's largest exporters of peas and lentils, a staple food for millions of people worldwide.
Agtech Income Fund companies export to more than 75 countries.
Company heavyweights from Canada and Turkey will join guests at an official opening of Australia Milling Group on site next month.
Horsham Mayor Cr Gary Bird said the news represented a significant vote in confidence for the region.
"We've lost jobs from small and large agribusiness which has left a lot of people suffering. But this is fantastic news," he said.
Mr Greening added that the approaching harvest would be different from last season.
"In the south and west we will definitely get crops and production," he said.
"And we will be buying and receiving grain virtually straight away. When farmers are considering where to sell these pulses and cereals we will be ready."
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