Pictured are (left) Edward Conroy, Joint Managing Director, Westland Horticulture; Diarmuid Gavin, Robert Lavery, Joint Managing Director, Westland Horticulture; Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and Mayor of Dungannon, Cllr Kenneth Reid.
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has today welcomed a £5million investment by Dungannon firm Westland Horticulture, which will create 23 new jobs.
The Minister was speaking as celebrity gardener Diarmuid Gavin unveiled highly advanced new machinery at the company’s factory.
The machinery will be used to produce a number of Westland’s products including a new peat-free compost for launch in 2012 which will be targeted at both consumers and professional growers within the horticulture sector.
Invest Northern Ireland has offered Westland Horticulture over £200,000 to support the investment in product development, factory improvements and export marketing.
Speaking at the company’s official launch event, Arlene Foster said: “Westland Horticulture is an innovative, ambitious and forward thinking business. Over the last 20 years, the company has worked hard to establish a leading position in the horticulture sector and has demonstrated its commitment to continuous improvement and innovation.
“Supported by Invest Northern Ireland, Westland Horticulture has created a ground breaking solution targeted at the professional grower and consumer market which offers the company potentially lucrative export opportunities.
“This significant investment will help Westland Horticulture to grow its business in new and existing markets, secure the future success of the company and offer valuable employment opportunities in Co. Tyrone.”
Westland Horticulture has been developing innovative products for the UK and Republic of Ireland horticultural sector for over 20 years and employs over 200 people across its two sites in County Tyrone.
The company has invested significantly in product development with a focus on peat reduced compost products to meet UK Government targets. As part of the £5million investment, Westland Horticulture has developed West+ Light & Easy Multi-Purpose Compost, which uses a unique peat free formulation to deliver the same growing benefits usually achieved with standard peat based products.
Edward Conroy, Joint Managing Director of Westland Horticulture, said: “In order to remain at the forefront of development within growing media we needed to expand our facilities and workforce, resulting in the expansion of our new West+ plant. With the support offered by Invest NI we are able to continue to make important contributions towards the research and development of our products and it allows for our continuous developments.
“One of the key benefits of our new product is its super lightweight bag which is 60% lighter than an ordinary bag of compost. This means it can be easily and more cost effectively transported to customers outside Northern Ireland, helping to reduce CO2 emissions and transport overheads. Our ongoing aim is to help reduce the reliance on peat based products within the horticultural industry and increase our customer base of professional growers in international markets.”