As Cobram Harvest grows and achieves scale, we can help more local farmers to make money from crop that would otherwise go as waste or be sold at very low returns as class 2 if affected by hail storms or frost.
This technology can create a revenue opportunity from excess or damaged fruit. We believe this will bring sustainability to our horticulture industry and revive the competitiveness of Australian fruits in the export markets.
-Giovanni (John) Mantovani
Manto Produce is a multi-generational, multi-dimensional horticulture business that incorporates a 200 acre fruit growing farm, fresh produce store and delivery business. Owned by the Mantovani family, Manto Produce has been operating in Cobram for three decades.
Cobram Harvest, founded by Manto Produce, is a new dried fruit processing venture that the family is utilising to diversify and add value to the business, while also addressing significant waste issues in the horticulture sector.
The Australian horticulture industry, and producers within the sector, face many challenges.
Exports of Australian fruits are dwindling due to strong global competition from emerging markets. Many growers rely heavily on local market demand to gain sales and oversupply of fresh fruit is a common issue, resulting in low selling prices and excessive inventory pile-ups. Due to the perishable nature of fruit and vegetables, unsold stocks are regularly thrown away.
Succession planning is another challenge for many family owned horticulture businesses. Many existing growers are reluctant to expand, improve infrastructure or cultivate new varieties to meet changing needs of consumers due to increasing costs of production, water and labour shortages.
Fruit and vegetable harvests are directly affected by the climate. Adverse weather conditions like hailstorm and frost can cause physical damages to crops, leading to significant financial lost and the challenge disposing of damaged fruit.
Determined to continue their horticulture business, the Mantovani family started looking for innovative ways to optimise harvest and crop yields.
After in depth research and discussions with industry, the business identified an opportunity to turn excess and damaged fruits into healthy and tasty fruit snacks.
Cobram Harvest uses innovative technology to process fresh fruits into fruit crisps. The first product, Apple Crisps, is 100% natural, oil free, with no added sugar, no preservatives and no artificial colours or flavours.