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     Anchor farm organic
    Owners of an old carpet factory in Devonport (Tasmania) have held informal talks with the Devonport City Council about a conversion to a potato processing factory.

    The proposal would create 20 jobs, but requires rezoning approval for the East Devonport site and some residents oppose the idea.

    Terrence Rattray, of Anchor Organics, said his vegetable business, based at Pyengana since 1995, had outgrown its current premises which were too far from port. The carpet factory's closeness to the Devonport port made it an appealing option.

    "It is also a magnificent factory with a solid structure,'' Mr Rattray said.

    Preliminary work has started to clean up the factory and remove asbestos before plans are lodged with the council for approval.

    "What we have in mind is some downstream processing with the scope for further expansion,'' Mr Rattray said.

    Asked how a vegetable processing factory would be viable given the well-publicised profitability problems threatening the Simplot factory in Devonport, Mr Rattray said Anchor Organics was "completely different''.

    "We find niche markets and fill that with a range of our boutique potato varieties, which are a growth area of the market,'' Mr Rattray said.

    Anchor Organics send washed and brushed potatoes to Western Australia and supply the Woolworths Macro brand, as well as into wholesale markets here and in Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Korea.