A-MAIZE-ING: Millions budgeted for huge factory expansion
AN ICONIC factory in central Warwick is set to undergo a multi-million dollar expansion that will cement the future of a centuries-old industry in our region.
The 140-year-old grain mill in the middle of town will amplify its legacy as owner Defiance Maize breaks boundaries in a growing market.
When expansions are complete in November this year, six new 1800-tonne silos will tower over Warwick's Churchill Dr, allowing the company to increase its onsite grain storage capacity by more than 350per cent.
General manager for Australia, Gerhard Oberholzer said the company faced exciting prospects of expansion in the south-east Asian market.
At present, the Warwick-based factory makes gritting corn for Kellogg's Corn Flakes, semolina, cornflour and polenta which are used to manufacture other foods and snacks.
But for retired mill worker Val Gray, the news of a thriving industry would have positive, far-reaching impacts for farmers around the region.
"There is a future there for our kids and this has been one kind of stable thing in the community for so many years," Mr Gray said.
"I remember back in the day we were putting in machinery and getting involved with Kellogg's.
"For a small local community to have a mill capable of supplying a big company like that was a pretty big achievement."
Mr Oberholzer said the rising demand for non-genetically modified corn products presented exciting opportunities for the region's farmers and processing plants.
"Maize is not a commodity grown widely in Australia, but I guess the point of difference we have here is that we are a GM-free market," he said.
The company expects to break ground on September 1 for the expansion that will allow the corn-processing factory to store all its grain supplies in Warwick.
Mr Oberholzer said the Defiance Maize was currently having to rent about 8000 tonnes of offsite grain storage because the five existing silos were always full.
"We are planning for the storage to be set up in the future in such a way that we can double our capacity in the plant processing," he said.
The works are expected to be completed by November this year and will also include the latest technology for cleaning and sorting maize products.
"The regulations are getting more and more stringent in regards to food safety and a lot of these are pushed back onto suppliers," Mr Oberholzer said.
Defiance Maize employs 25 people in Warwick and is not planning to take on more staff in the foreseeable future.