Date Published: 12-10-17

Farmers on the Central Coast will benefit from a $100,000 Coalition Government grant, awarded to Australian Green Tea Pty Ltd to establish a co-operative aimed at bringing a new business model to Mangrove Mountain farmers. 

“This funding will allow the Australia Green Tea Co-operative to improve marketing, and the corporate consolidation required to develop their business,” said Lucy Wicks, Federal Member for Robertson. 

“That business will provide farmers in the Mangrove Mountain plateau the opportunity to plant, harvest and sell their goods to an overseas market,” Mrs Wicks said. 

The Farming Together Grant is part of investment being made by the Government to help groups of farmers, including those on the Central Coast, adopt collaborative and cooperative business models. 

“This investment gives farmers the skills and resources to take greater control of the supply chain and achieve economies of scale, including negotiating prices for their goods,” Mrs Wicks said. 

John Robb, founder of the Australian Green Tea Co-op, said the region had enormous potential. 

“Co-operatives like this could open up a whole new industry of production and tourism to the Central Coast. Mangrove Mountain could be the green tea equivalent to the Hunter Valley’s wine region,” said Mr Robb. 

“The quality of tea produced in the Mangrove Mountain plateau is equal to, if not better than that produced in Japan.” 

The establishment of the Australian Green Tea Co-operative would provide a framework for mutually beneficial collaboration to further the emerging green tea industry on the Central Coast with a view to expanding across Australia. 

“We envisage that the Australian Green Tea Co-operative will serve as a support facility for all members of the Co-op. We will create the initial processing and packaging facility so that members can commence farming and production of the crop,” Mr Robb said. 

The funding was also welcomed by Regional Development Australia Central Coast CEO John Mouland. 

“This is exactly the type of agricultural industry that we want to see on the Central Coast that not only provides an alternative crop for farmers but also cements the Central Coast as an industry leader in tea production,” Mr Mouland said. 

“This grant will allow the Central Coast to open up to export opportunities that will create additional jobs on the Central Coast.” 

Australian Green Tea Pty Limited (AGTL) has been formed to be a “center of excellence” and catalyst for this new, emerging industry, in terms of coordinating all interested parties. This includes continuing research in alternative processing and transportation technologies as well as breeding better yielding plants, all of which could be exported throughout the tea cultivation world. 

Over the past 15 years, attempts have been made to establish Green Tea plantations in Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia and New South Wales. 

The current NSW pilot program has highlighted excellent opportunities for this region and a very realistic chance of successfully producing high quality green tea. 

It’s hoped that the establishment of the Australian Green Tea Co-operative and its emerging industry on the Central Coast will encourage farmers who may have been hesitant in the past to become involved. 

“It is evident to us that an early collaboration with likeminded parties would substantially increase the chances of success,” Mr Robb said. 

Australian Tea Pty Limited (AGTL) has been born out of the ownership and management of a local NSW Central Coast company called Paradise Plants and its sister company Paradise Seed Pty Ltd. 

Media Contact: Tim Sowden 0422 993 373