AC Goatham looks to the long term with further expansion plans despite "tough year" for fruit

Kent's largest top fruit grower, AC Goatham & Son, has announced a further £8 million investment at its Flanders Farm site, which opened last year.

Image: HW
Image: HW

The expansion plans include increased cold storage and fruit processing facilities, while current processes will also be streamlined, createing 15 full-time and over 200 seasonal or part-time jobs over the next two years.

The increased capacity will be required to handle fruit from an ambitious planting scheme totalling 268,500 new fruit trees in Medway and a further 280,000 across Kent, due to be completed over the next 18 months.

AC Goatham & Son director Clive Goatham said: "This expansion is taking place in what is turning out to be a tough year for the industry here in Kent."

Russia's ban on EU fresh produce imports "is pushing cheaper imports into the UK, and combined with a bumper top fruit harvest, prices are at low levels not seen for many years", he said.

"Despite this we have the confidence to continue to invest and are looking to the long term. Thanks to our investment over the last several years in all areas of our business we are in a much stronger position to grow over the next 20 years and beyond."

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