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AUSTRALIA : Manbulloo Mangoes to expand with $500k loan from Coles

Nov. 24, 2015, 3:16 p.m.

NORTHERN Territory and Queensland mango producer Manbulloo Mangoes has received a $500,000 interest-free loan from the Coles Nurture Fund to expand production.

The loan aims to ensure customers can buy locally-grown mangoes at Coles.

The announcement came as Manbulloo managing director Marie Piccone was recognised as Entrepreneur of the Year at the National Telstra Business Women's Awards in Melbourne recently for the success of her business.

Manbulloo Mangoes is the nation’s largest producer of Kensington Pride mangoes.

The Manbulloo team will sell more than 4.5 million mangoes through Coles this season.

As demand for the tropical fruit increases, Manbulloo will embark on a major expansion project over the next four years, planting nearly 22,000 new mango trees on 130 hectares at its Katherine farm.

To kick start the project, Manbullo will use funding from the Coles Nurture Fund to prepare 30 hectares of land, install a bore and irrigation system, and plant 5500 trees.

Coles managing director John Durkan said Manbulloo Mangoes had supplied Coles with top quality mangoes for nine years.

“In 2014-15 Manbulloo tripled the number of mangoes it supplied to Coles compared to the previous year and we’re gearing up for another bumper year," Mr Durkan said.

"As demand for Aussie mangoes grows each year, this is an important project to ensure we can continue to deliver locally grown fruit to meet future demand."

As part of the project, Manbulloo will employ about 60 additional people during peak season to harvest the extra volume and work in a second shift in its existing packing shed.

The business will also invest about $1 million in an additional 15 picking machines to pick the extra volume of mangoes once production increases.

Ms Piccone said the company sees a bright future working closely with Coles.

Ms Piccone founded the business in 2005 and Manbulloo has since grown to become one of Australia’s largest mango producers with farms near Katherine, NT and Townsville, Qld.

Across Manbulloo’s three properties there are currently 57,500 mango trees in production, 540ha under crop and 350 people employed by Manbulloo Mangoes during peak season.

Nearly 22,000 additional trees will be planted over the next three years, with the majority being the popular Kensington Pride variety.

Following a milestone year for mango sales in 2014-15, Manbulloo was also recognised as Coles Best In-Store Execution Supplier of the Year in September.

Manbulloo Mangoes tripled the amount of mangoes it supplied to Coles in 2014-15 compared to the previous year, celebrating the popular fruit with Coles customers and team members through its successful Mangolomania campaign – which has just kicked off in Coles stores for the second year.

Coles launched the Coles Nurture Fund in April 2015, announcing it would provide $50 million in grants and interest-free loans over five years to businesses in the food and grocery sector so they could grow and innovate.

Manbulloo is among six other small businesses across Australia who have been announced as recipients of the Nurture Fund.

The Coles Nurture Fund is open to businesses with less than $25 million in annual revenue and 50 or fewer full-time employees. 

Applications for the second round of funding from the Coles Nurture Fund opened on September 25.

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