A largely European-owned company will invest millions in developing an apple orchard in Central Hawke's Bay, now it has received approval from the Overseas Investment Office. Two parcels of land were purchased by Craigmore Sustainables - Springhill in Central Hawke's Bay and Glenpark Orchard in Gisborne.
The Central Hawke's Bay project approved by the OIO is a 130-ha development which will be converted into an apple orchard. The new orchard is expected to be in full production by mid-2020 and is set to have 73 full time employees when it is fully operational.
Craigmore Sustainables chief executive Che Charteris said its plans, an investment that totalled $52m, was a part of a push to expand in key regional regions: "Our strategy is to build a diversified business of the best of New Zealand orchards across a range of fruits for which New Zealand already has an established reputation and markets, including kiwifruit, apples and wine grapes, along with emerging crops such as cherries, citrus and avocados. With these acquisitions, Craigmore Sustainables will be converting more pastoral land into orchards than anyone else in Aotearoa, bringing with it a surge in regional jobs and exports across key regions."
To combat the lack of labour that Hawke's Bay faces during the picking season, Craigmore plans to mirror the approach of one of its other businesses, Coxco, when sourcing labour for its various orchard properties.