Lenswood Apples 83 Year History is at risk.

LENSWOOD Apples’ 83-year history is at risk, with redundancies, hail damage and rumour besetting the Adelaide Hills cooperative that usually handles about 70 per cent of the state’s crop. The cooperative sells apples throughout Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore. Grower owners were currently responsible for orchards on 1500ha of prime agricultural land, handling about 10 per cent of Australia’s annual production. Chief executive James Walters has left the company while marketing manager Julian Carbone was made redundant. Other staff and managers in marketing and packing were made redundant in the past three months. In 2016, the Adelaide Hills-based cooperative employed between 75 and 80 people, dealing with some 20,000 tonnes of fresh apples annually. Last year, a violent hailstorm decimated a large chunk of Adelaide Hills orchards causing about $32 million damage. SA Apple and Pear Growers Association chief executive Susie Green said this has affected 95 per cent of growers in the Adelaide Hills.
Lenswood Apples also owns a 25 per cent share in a juicing plant at Monarto for apples unfit for export or sale but it gave growers “a very low return”.
Lenswood Apples chair Iain Evans, in response to questions about rumours of a new competitor, said “nothing has been created that we know of”. He confirmed redundancies, of managers and staff, as the business dealt with the fallout from “the worst hail event in living memory” and a significantly lower harvest. “ The CEO has left and there’s been no change to our structure”, adding that work was under way to recruit a replacement for Mr Walters. A rumour that a large grower is leaving the cooperative has been circulating and was dismissed, “we still have all of our members and the board is considering whether a cooperative structure is the best structure going forward”. “We have notified our members that we are looking at alternative structures”. The cooperative is owned by 24 grower members throughout the Adelaide Hills, Riverland and South East. Lenswood Apples board members include deputy chair Robert Green, Ben Filsell, Sonya Furey, Ashley Green and Michael Stafford.
Mr Evans, was unable to put a time frame on further possible changes but said the board was seeking advice from other organisations and talking with stakeholders.

Sourced partly from an article Printed in the Advertiser.

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