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Thursday, November 24, 2005

It's a hi-tech tomato boost

The Mercury: It's a hi-tech tomato boost [25nov05]

A TASMANIAN company will use new technology to improve production of cherry tomatoes with hopes of breaking into the Asian market.

The family company of J. and A. Brandsema at Turners Beach will soon take delivery of a new grading machine to increase the efficiency of the operation.

Yesterday Braddon MHR Mark Baker announced $70,400 in Sustainable Regions program funding to help the upgrade.

Manager Anthony Brandsema said the Australian-made grading machine would mean efficiencies in both picking and packing of cherry tomatoes.

The machine will incorporate cameras to measure the size and colour of the tomatoes.

"Presently the fruit is picked and graded by hand," Mr Brandsema said.

"This will allow us to sort into three grades and distribute to the market in the appropriate colours.

"We want to be able to land the right cherry tomatoes so that the consumer can pick them up and eat them straight away."

The Brandsema family is moving to specialise in cherry tomatoes, with the Tasmanian climate ideal for growing the popular tomato.

"If we can gain the efficiency, we will also get the confidence to grow further," he said.

The company's annual production of 350,000 punnets is consumed in Tasmania but the company hopes to increase this to 450,000 punnets in the next 12 months.

Mr Brandsema said there was strong interest from Japan and the company would look at establishing a niche market there.

"We hope to appeal to people in Japan who want to try something new," he said.

The Tasmanian brand was important to Tasmanians buying the product, he said.

"Tasmanians are very loyal toward our product, but it will probably be important to identify us in mainland markets as well," he said.


At 9:02 PM, November 24, 2005, Blogger randomwalker said...

with thesse production figures it looks like there is a lot of export potential here


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