A pork processor in South Australia that supplies meat to Southeast Asia will undergo a major expansion to become one of the biggest facilities of its kind.
Big River Pork, about 75km east of the South Australian capital Adelaide, has announced a $14 million expansion, which will grow its workforce from 190 to 300 staff.
The plant at Murray Bridge will increase the number of pigs it processes each week from about 11,000 to 16,000.
Big River Pork airfreights between 700 and 900 carcasses a week to Singapore and a small amount of pork products to other Pacific Rim countries including China.
The company’s chairman Geoff Hampel said while the expansion would mainly service growth in the domestic market, there was room for further increase exports into Asia.
He said the exports to Singapore had already grown significantly in the past 18 months.
“Singapore has a limited capacity to take meat but we would hope that would to continue to improve,” Mr Hampel said.
“There could be opportunities in other countries in the region.”
The expansion, boosted by a $900,000 grant from the South Australian Government, will make Big River Pork the second or third biggest facility of its kind in Australia.
Mr Hampel said the expansion would lead to increased efficiency, allowing South Australian pork to be priced more competitively.
He said pork from Australia was of high quality and had a clean and green reputation.
“It’s very hard to compete with exporting pork at the moment because there’s some very cheap pork coming out of places like the USA, Brazil, Denmark and Canada,” Mr Hampel said.
South Australia’s two-way trade with Southeast Asia was valued at more than $3.9 billion in 2015-16.
Major commodities traded included copper, wheat, motor vehicle parts and wine.
Andrew Spence is a senior writer for The Lead, South Australia