New packing machine for Mareeba fruit growers thanks to RED Grant

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19 February 2024

A Mareeba lime and mango farm will transition from a grower-only to a grower-packer operation, creating up to four jobs thanks to a Rural Economic Development (RED) Grant.

Valentina Caamano-Bermudez said her farm, Valentina Caamano, is using the RED Grant to fund a fruit grading and packing machine.

“The Rural Economic Development Grant will help me set up a packing facility to grow our farm operation and produce more limes and mangoes more efficiently," she said.

“The packing facility will increase the amount of produce we can get onto the market floor."

The upgrades are expected to improve efficiency and productivity by decreasing fruit processing time, as well as enhancing product quality through superior handling and storage facilities. 

The new machine will create up to four direct, full-time jobs. 

“Having a packing facility will create full-time employment for both shed and paddock production staff," Valentina said. 

Valentina Caamano is one of 24 businesses approved for the fifth round of the competitive RED grants program with a total funding of $3.9 million. Overall, the fifth round of the RED Grants program is expected to create up to 215 direct, long-term jobs.

Grants are available for up to $200,000 with a 50 per cent cash contribution requirement from applicants to fund projects which generate economic and employment opportunities related to primary production value chains across rural and remote Queensland.

Since the first round of the RED Grant scheme in 2018, almost $20 million has been committed towards Queensland’s agricultural sector and more than 3,200 new direct and indirect jobs have been created.

A sixth round of RED Grants has been allocated for the 2023-24 financial year, with applications now open.

For more information about the RED Grant scheme, visit the RED Grant scheme page

The Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) administers the RED Grant scheme on behalf of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.


Last updated: 19 February 2024