Costa supports reading and literacy at St Mary’s Parish Primary School in Whittlesea, Victoria

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Costa’s mushroom farm located at Mernda in the northern suburbs of Melbourne enjoys supporting its local community through developing relationships with local schools in the City of Whittlesea. One of these schools is St Mary’s Parish Primary School, a semi-rural school situated on eight acres of land. Last year, Costa donated two truckloads (40 cubic metres) of mushroom compost for the preparation of the ground for a new orchard which was planted in the school grounds.

Costa has now donated $6,000 to St Mary’s to assist with building the literacy skills of both the students and parent community.

These funds will be used to purchase:

  • Home reading books for Years 3-6 students including multiple titles of popular kids’ books written by authors such as Andy Griffiths, Paul Jennings and Roald Dahl
  • Picture story books and novels for all students
  • Sets of novels for Years 5-6 students for participation in a Book Club program for advanced readers
  • Novels for the introduction of a Parents’ Book Club to promote reading in the parent community

These new resources will add to the literacy activity already undertaken in the City Whittlesea, including the giving of free books to local kindergartens and picture storybooks to all parents with 3-4 year old children to encourage parents to read with their children.

On Monday 21st May, Costa representatives joined with the State Member for Yan Yean, Danielle Green, and visited St Mary’s to promote reading in schools and also the Victorian Premier’s Reading Challenge.

Costa’s Victorian Mushroom Manager, Jose Cambon said that “Costa is proud to help our local community in any way we can and we are pleased to be able to support the St Mary’s Parish Primary School’s efforts to promote a love of reading and to develop literacy and learning skills”.

Costa wins Business Excellence Award for Agriculture, Food & Beverage at the 25th Annual AustCham Westpac Australia-China Business Awards

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Overnight in Shanghai, China (17 May 2018), Costa Group was announced as the winner of the Business Excellence Award for Agriculture, Food & Beverageat the prestigious 25th Annual AustCham Westpac Australia-China Business Awards.

Mr Peter McPherson, Costa Group General Manager International accepted the award on behalf of Costa and told the assembled audience of local and international dignitaries that it was a great honour to be recognised in this way with such a prestigious award.

“The footprint that Costa has established in China working together with Driscoll’s has taken a lot of hard work and most importantly this has involved a commitment to work cooperatively and harmoniously with local stakeholders, including government officials, our employees and local villagers”, said Mr McPherson.

The award recognises the agronomic practices that Costa has brought to China, including its world leading blueberry IP and substrate growing methods which has been a real game changer for the way in which not only berries are grown in China, but agriculture is conducted in general.

“Importantly the award is also recognition of how Costa has worked with all local stakeholders in helping to realise their commitment to agricultural policies and practices that improve economic development by creating jobs in agriculture, have a positive environmental impact and benefit the greater social good”, said Mr McPherson.

Mr McPherson made special mention of the great work of Costa’s local employees in working to establish three farms in Yunnan Province (to date), and their willingness to learn and apply new skills. 

Costa’s investment in China is one of the largest made by a foreign-owned company in Chinese agriculture in recent years.  Key factors underpinning the investment include:

  • Introduction of world leading high-tech growing and management systems.
  • Recognition of key national agricultural policies focusing on sustainable production and improvement in the economic and social well-being of the local population
  • Strong and harmonious working relationships with local authorities
  • Implementation of safe and healthy work practices.

New Costa Distribution Centre growing jobs in the North West of Tasmania

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MORE than 100 new full-time equivalent jobs are on track to be created by September this year, following the opening of the $7.1 million expansion of the Costa Distribution Centre in East Devonport.

The expanded and upgraded Distribution Centre (DC), which started operations late last year in time for the summer berry harvest, was formally opened by the Member for Braddon and Minister for Planning, Mr Roger Jaensch and Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff on May 16.

In 2016 Costa received $1.4 million funding from the Tasmania Jobs and Investment Fund (administered by the Federal Department of Industry, Innovation and Science) to construct a further modified atmosphere facility and undertake a significant expansion and upgrade of the East Devonport Distribution Centre.

The building includes refrigerated loading docks, four ambient temperature unloading docks, packing room, cooling room and new administration and amenities facilities.

David Jordan, General Manager of the Costa Berry Category, said the facility now had double the capacity to store berries in modified atmosphere storage meaning Costa could also invest in the further expansion of its Tasmanian production footprint.

“This is a state-of-the-art facility, which will enhance our capacity to expand our berry operations and in turn create more employment opportunities in the North-West,” Mr Jordan said.

“The facility has enabled the season to be extended and for the product to be sold into the market at a time when there has traditionally been no, or very low supply. It also fills the market at a time when there have traditionally been only imports from New Zealand.

“We have moved 8,000 tonnes of fruit through the DC this year, and are expecting this to grow by more than 20 per cent next season.  We have also significantly increased our dispatch capability, with 477 pallets, equating to 12 semi-trailers, loaded in a single shift.”

Cooling times for fruit have also been cut by half, ensuring the longest possible shelf life for Tasmanian fruit. 

Costa Berries has around 170 hectares of blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries on the North-West coast.  At the peak of the harvest season, Costa employs a workforce of around 2000 people.

The DC also provides increased capacity for berries from third party growers across the North-West.

Mr Jordan said since the announcement of the funding in June 2016, a total of 90 new additional full-time equivalent jobs had been created, and this was on track to increase by the end of September this year.

“Tasmania is a key berry growing region, and the only location where we grow the four main berry types – blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries,” he said.