Eyemouth Freezers have received a £480,000 funding boost from the Scottish Government for their £1.2 million development project.
The Eyemouth based company freezes, packs and stores peas grown by Scottish Borders Produce Limited farmers in a 30 miles radius of the factory and the lion’s share of the money will be spent on a new process freezer.
Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Food Richard Lochhead visited the Eyemouth factory, announcing a total of £3.7 million of investment in 12 Scottish food and drink companies which he said would create 111 new jobs and safeguard a further 615.
“This investment will create and safeguard hundreds of jobs, further contributing to the massive success of Scotland’s £14 billion food and drink growth sector,” said Mr Lochhead, announcing the latest spending in the Food Processing, Marketing and Co-operation scheme which is jointly funded by the Scottish Government and the EU.
“The food sector in Scotland is doing well and is a growing sector and in this part of Scotland any new jobs are welcome which is why we are supporting companies like this.”
But while the investment in Eyemouth will safeguard the 50 permanent jobs and 20 seasonal jobs at the freezing plant it won’t initially create any new job opportunities.
Chairman of Eyemouth Freezers, Peter Straker Smith said: “What we are trying to do is increase pea production and be more efficient. We want to do more, better, for less.
“We have to get ourselves equipped for the world to come, and our old freezer got the end of its life and we either go forward or we stop altogether.
“The freezer is the heart of the operation and two thirds of the £1.2 million is being spent on putting the new freezer in.”
Once installed the new freezer will increase the pea processing plant’s capacity from its current 7-8000 tonnes of peas per season up to 10-12,000 tonnes. Two new rooms will also be built providing medium care areas where soya based and meat free products can be processed, increasing the plant’s business potential.
Mr Straker-Smith added: “This award is a tremendous boost to the business. It will enable us to provide a secure foundation for the company’s future, for the development of the vining pea croup in the Borders and for our employees’ prospects.”
Eyemouth Freezers was set up 16 years ago by a consortium of local farmers to process, freeze and store peas grown by farmers’ co-operative Scottish Borders Produce Limited and the farmers are committed to growing more peas now the new freezer being installed has greater capacity.
“The peas have to be grown within a 30 mile radius but there are still plenty of farmers out there that don’t grow peas so there is room for growth,” said Mr Straker-Smith.