The co-operative had unveiled plans for the new facility in a refurbished beef building at its Lorneville plant last year, but has now revised the project as it seeks to “deliver improved efficiencies and value for farmer shareholders”.
The new $15.2m plan includes design innovations, improved handling facilities, enhanced configuration, increased slaughterboard size, a wider boning room and an increased offal area. The plant will also be capable of accommodating new technological developments when they become available.
The new processing facility is expected to be operational next year. Until then, deer will continue to be processed at Alliance’s Makarewa plant near Invercargill and Smithfield plant in Timaru.
David Surveyor, Alliance Group chief executive, said: “This greater investment reinforces the cooperative’s commitment to the New Zealand deer industry and will ensure we have world-class modern facilities, reflecting our position as a leading and innovative processor.
“It also demonstrates the company is continuing to deliver on our strategy of investing in the future, lowering our cost base and delivering higher returns to our farmer shareholders.”
The decision underlines Alliance’s confidence in the deer industry, with several marketing initiatives in progress, he said.
“While the New Zealand venison market has traditionally depended on Germany and the European game season and the euro, Alliance Group is now moving into the US and UK markets with value-added propositions.
“A major driver of this is our Pure South programme to increase out-of-season chilled consumption, coupled with a general growth in seasonal chilled venison – resulting in a more diverse market and currency mix.”