From the heart of one of South Australia’s most iconic food bowls, Glossop fruit growers, Bill Efrosinis and Sandy Iosefellis, are redefining what it means to turn one good idea into another – and another.
A decision in 2014 to embrace what they’ve dubbed ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ funding opportunities via the South Australian River Murray Sustainability Program (SARMS) has meant transformation has become the hallmark of their Riverland business.
Their latest business case for Autumn Fruits takes the one good idea premise to another level entirely.
They are building on their achievements from Round 1 of the SARMS Irrigation Industry Improvement Program (3IP) with two new avenues to boost business profitability and in the process planning to return 50 megalitres of their precious water resource to the River Murray.
It was one of 78 projects offered Round 4 funding in October last year from the $240 million SARMS 3IP.
As part of the grant, netting will be rolled out on the property in time to offer protection from the elements during the 2018-19 growing season for their prized pome fruit.
It will help to avoid another near-disaster like the 2016-17 growing season when almost 40 per cent of their commercial crops were lost to hail damage.
The second initiative is a packaging facility to be commissioned in May and it won’t only be Bill and Sandy who expect to benefit once it’s built.
The facility will house new packing technology which will allow them and other Riverland food-producers to extend the shelf-life of local fruit and vegetables while reducing food waste in the supply chain.
“It’s remarkable how fast our journey has progressed from Round 1 to Round 4,” said Sandy.
“It’s not just the grants but the community we’ve met along the way, the other grantees who are innovative in their thinking and practices to grow their businesses and be more resilient and viable.
“This technology will help us and other growers to increase production value from the same farm footprint – that’s what we’re looking forward to.”
“SARMS has been a game changer.”
SARMS is contributing to the South Australian Government’s commitment and implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. SARMS is funded by the Australian Government and is being delivered by Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) over six years to mid-2019.