The new Roquette pea processing facility, west of Portage la Prairie, has finally seen its first shipment of peas come in for processing.
Canada's Communications and Public Affairs Manager for Roquette Michelle Finley says they won't be retailed or processed for the public, though.
"We're in operation," says Finley. "We welcomed our first load of peas last week. So, operations have started and the team is ramping up. Everyone is extremely excited and we're just full-steam ahead heading into 2021."
She explains they've got almost 100 people hired now and will be adding about 20 more in the new year, and adds details about that will be forthcoming.
"Basically, what we did is welcomed our first load of peas from a local grower and those peas will be used in the testing and commissioning of the plant," explains Finley. "So, the plant has to go through a pretty sophisticated commissioning process in order to comply with CFIA food standards. That's a very detailed process. These peas that we welcomed last week will play a big important role in that."
Finley says there's no specific date when actual retail processing will begin, noting they have to go through this process of testing and then await a response from the country.
"It's quite a detailed process. We're starting up a very sophisticated high-tech plant, so there's a lot of different steps that have to be done in an order outlined by our engineers. Those peas that arrived last week from near Carberry were very much welcomed by our team and will be put to good use in the coming months as we get the plans full-steam ahead."
She says the plant is the most high-tech one the company owns.
"The plant's been built to the highest possible energy standards that are available. That's why we ended up in Manitoba, to begin with, because of the access to the hydroelectric power which is sustainable. So, the plant itself is unique within Roquette's company. It's really the crown jewel and it is just chock full of state-of-the-art equipment and processes, and it's highly automated. Our production operators right now are training on all of those systems, and we're very, very excited to have them able to get out in the plant and start running the systems to produce the protein."Click here to see more...