AgriSea leaves Gisborne after dairy downturn

[New Zealand] AGRISEA’s Gisborne plant has shut down after the company decided to move all of its operations back to Paeroa. The family-owned business turns seaweed into fertiliser and soil-conditioning products.

AgriSea director Jill Bradley said it was with a “heavy heart” they decided to close the Patutahi facility, just three years on, but it was the right decision based on unstable international dairy prices.

“In February we made the decision to ‘bombproof’ the company and swiftly moved to cut costs and rationalise production.

“Our family had a series of meetings at the beginning of 2015 in response to the looming downturn in the New Zealand dairy sector.

“We decided to move the Gisborne operation back to the Waikato with a heavy heart. It was not just that we loved Gisborne but rather that we were losing excellent staff from the Patutahi facility.”

AgriSea set up its seaweed brewing facility in the former River Point packhouse and coolstore in Bilham Road, next door to the Patutahi school, in 2012.

Their resource consent application came up against opposition from three neighbours who were concerned the factory could generate a bad smell.

But consent was granted and local people were hired to collect seaweed; jobs were also created at the brewing facility.

A nearby resident said there was definitely a smell associated with the seaweed brewing process but the company had always been very supportive with local events and fundraisers.

There was a lot of traffic around the site a few months ago, she said, after AgriSea advertised all the bins they used for brewing were available for anyone to pick up for free.

The company that has bought the building wishes to remain anonymous until they make an announcement early next year about what their plans are.

View original article at: AgriSea leaves Gisborne after dairy downturn

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