Sundrop Farms has been operating a pilot greenhouse facility in Port Augusta for six years and in 2015 were able to see the “fruits” of their labours. Thanks to a number of significant commitments – $6 million in State Government funding, a ten-year contract from Coles and debt and equity of more than AUD$150 million from global investment firm KKR, CBA, and Challenger Life – Sundrop has embarked on a 20 hectare expansion of their horticulture business in Port Augusta, and in the process will create about 300 construction and onsite jobs.
Located in the State’s Upper Spencer Gulf region, Sundrop Farms is a developer, owner, and operator of high tech greenhouse facilities that primarily rely on nature’s abundance of sunlight and saltwater to produce high-value crops.
The company’s pioneering technology allows it to operate food production facilities in non-traditional locations that typically have little or no access to arable land, fresh water sources or grid energy, making it a flagship model for food business in South Australia.
Managing Director John Phinney said that given growing global population and pressure on our planet’s finite resources, Sundrop’s innovative agribusiness model aims to benefit people, planet and profits.
“We have created a proprietary food production system which grows high-quality produce year-round in greenhouses that use the renewable resources of sunlight and seawater,” Mr Phinney said.
“Sundrop Farms is very grateful for the support we have received from the South Australian government, who have been great supporters of our endeavours, even at the earliest pilot stages in 2009 and 2010.”
The Port Augusta facility will be Sundrop’s first commercial site globally, producing more than 15,000 tonnes of tomatoes each year once full operational in mid-2016, and providing the spring board to future projects both in Australia and around the world.