First trees planted

Tristan WheelerManjimup-Bridgetown Times
The first trees planted at the Carpenters Project in Pemberton.
Camera IconThe first trees planted at the Carpenters Project in Pemberton. Credit: Supplied/Supplied

Alterra has planted the first avocado trees at its planned 300ha Carpenters Project in Pemberton, as part of a feasibility study.

The planting of 5ha of avocado trees finished on Thursday, with work on a 30ML dam to provide water to the trees also completed.

Alterra chief executive officer Oliver Barnes said the initial planting was a significant milestone.

“The initial planting will provide Alterra with real-time field data that will be used to manage risk, improve production efficiency and optimise return on capital for our investors,” he said

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“It’s a great milestone, having taken on the project in April and seeing us progress the feasibility to the stage where we are at and actually get trees in the ground this year is a fantastic effort from all involved.”

The study will be completed by the end of 2020, with the 300ha planting representing about 10 per cent of the State’s avocado crop.

Mr Barnes said Alterra aimed to complete the development in the next four to five years and had the capacity to plant 100ha per year.

“We aim to be concluding feasibility in preparation for development capital, third party capital coming into the project in 2021,” he said.

“The work that we are doing on the ground now is getting Carpenters prepared for our development capital and for capital to come directly into the project.

“We really like the Pemberton-Manjimup region, we think it’s a really exciting place to be right now and to continue to build the industry amongst really great peers and fantastic operators in that region,” he said.

Manjimup shire president Paul Omodei said Carpenters was an iconic property and one of the first developed blocks in the district.

“300ha of avocados will generate a lot of activity, so I would support, on behalf of the shire, any industry that’s going to generate jobs for our young people.”

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