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Endeavour Foundation Industries in north Queensland is part of an historic change in Australia’s banana industry which will have a significant impact on the local economy.
Four Endeavour operations in north Queensland will produce more than 500,000 of a new generation of lined banana bag for growers nationwide.
Traditionally made overseas, the new outer liners will be Australian-made and will be assembled with the inner liner by Endeavour Foundation.
“Bringing the work back to Australian shores gives the company greater control over the quality of the product and greater control over the production process,” said Senior EFI Manager Cairns Danny Pieri.
“This is a significant operation. The company which has given us the contract is one of the biggest suppliers of banana bags in the industry,” Danny said.
The bags are designed to be a protective sleeve for the fruit and also act as an incubator to aid in ripening of the fruit ensuring the highest quality is delivered to the market.
“After 10 months of testing, this new product is ready for production,” Danny said.
“It has a lot of potential and initial indications are that it will be well-accepted by growers, which will hopefully mean significant ongoing work for Endeavour.”
The distribution company chose Endeavour Foundation after hearing a recommendation from a banana bag distributor.
“It’s a win-win situation for both the distributors and Endeavour,” Danny said.
“They obviously get the job done well and at a competitive price, and it fits really well with the skill set of our supported employees.” The four EFI sites to work on the bags are Cairns, Townsville, Innisfail and Mareeba. All up more than 160 supported employees will work on the bags for at least the next 18 months.
The sites are four of 27 EFIs located throughout Queensland and New South Wales, which provide employment opportunities for people with a disability. All proceeds go to supporting people with a disability, such as through education, accommodation and employment services.
“It’s great to see that companies understand the quality of services offered by Endeavour Foundation Industries and that our flexibility and can-do attitude mean we can offer them tailored solutions to meet their specific needs,” said CEO David Barbagallo, who visited EFI Townsville, Cairns and Innisfail at the beginning of the banana bag operation in June.
“Of course, our business customers can also be proud that, in partnering with us, they are supporting an organisation which provides such opportunity for people with a disability.”