25/02/2020 - 14:42

Harvest Road adds Albany oysters to expanding menu

25/02/2020 - 14:42

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Andrew Forrest is increasing the scope of his agricultural investment vehicle, Harvest Road Group, reaching an agreement to acquire Albany oyster farm Ocean Foods International.

Harvest Road adds Albany oysters to expanding menu
Harvest Road plans to significantly expand the Albany Oyster Harbour aquaculture leases. Photo: Louis Hansel

Andrew Forrest is increasing the scope of his agricultural investment vehicle, Harvest Road Group, reaching an agreement to acquire Albany oyster farm Ocean Foods International.

Operating out of Albany’s Emu Point, Singaporean-owned OFI is the only supplier of Western Australian oysters to the local market. 

Harvest Road chief executive Greg Harvey said the acquisition, which remains subject to regulatory approval, would give the group the opportunity to modernise Albany aquaculture.

The group reportedly intends to invest $16 million in expanding the operation to supply both the domestic and export markets.

“We believe Albany and the wider Great Southern region will benefit from our local investments, which will allow us to produce shellfish on-site all year round,” Mr Harvey said.

“This will result in increased farmgate sales, which will be a boost for jobs, aquaculture and tourism in the region.

“We look forward to finalising our plans with all relevant stakeholders and engaging closely with the local community and existing workforce.”

Commercial terms of the deal were not disclosed, while the move is Harvest Road’s second strategy to garner exposure in oyster farming.

In late 2018, Harvest Road launched a three-year trial oyster farming operation in Shark Bay, documenting the growth, survival and quality of oysters farmed in the area in an effort to establish a major aquaculture operation.

Mr Forrest said he believed there was a great opportunity to help drive environmentally sustainable economic growth through acquaculture.

"I think this is particularly true when it comes to oysters, which are filter feeders that require no feed to be added to the marine environment and help to naturally remove excess nutrients from the water," he said.

"By building oyster production in Oyster Harbour we hope to contribute to improved water clarity and support seagrass health in the area." 

Harvest Road also recently moved to expand its cattle operations, with plans for a $51 million feedlot at its Koojan Downs property, near Moora, approved by planning authorities earlier this year. 

Once built, the Koojan Downs feedlot will be the largest cattle feeding operation in WA, and could support 60,000 cattle each year.

Construction is expected to start in March, while Harvest Road is also planning to expand its Harvey Beef processing plant.

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