Vegetable industries have welcomed the commitment from Coles to support innovation in the Australian vegetable industry, with the major retailer announcing a $500,000 interest-free loan to Victorian vegetable growing operation, Butler Market Gardens as part of the Coles Nurture Fund.
The vegetable growing operation is the first Victorian small business to receive a loan from the fund, which was established to help small Australian growers, manufacturers, and food and grocery producers to innovate and develop their businesses.
“It is encouraging to see Coles, one of the biggest retailers in the country, affirm its commitment to the Australian vegetable industry and support local business innovation and development through the Nurture Fund,” said Shaun Lindhe, spokesperson, AUSVEG .
“The allocation of interest-free loans and grants to Australian vegetable growers sends a strong message to the industry and to the Australian public that Coles has confidence in the industry’s long-term viability and prosperity.”
“With many growers struggling with rising costs and unable to invest in business development, it is promising that Coles is supporting small businesses in their efforts to remain competitive in an ever-changing global marketplace.”
The interest-free loan will allow Butler Market Gardens to invest in new technology to increase its output and continue delivering quality produce to customers.
The funds will go to purchasing new automatic washing and drying technology to minimise waste and reduce the time it takes vegetables to get from paddock to plate.
“This initiative will enable entrepreneurial growing operations such as Butler Market Gardens to invest in exciting new business opportunities, rather than being forced to direct all of their funds into their day to day operations,” said Lindhe.
“We hope more small vegetable and potato operations all over Australia will be able to benefit from the Nurture Fund to help develop their businesses so they can continue to be innovative in a climate of rising on-farm costs.”
“It is encouraging that Coles, through the Nurture Fund, will help ensure that Australian growers can remain at the cutting edge in terms of innovation into the future and that consumers can continue to enjoy clean, green and safe Australian vegetables and potatoes.”