"The demand for frozen products has overwhelmed retailers and suppliers."

Cannery plan ditched for frozen food plant

A BOLD plan to fund a cannery in the Lockyer Valley has been ditched in favour a frozen vegetable packing plant but a local growers group remains highly sceptical.

Businessman Colin Dorber has been driving the cannery proposal for eight years.

He told The Courier-Mail that the cannery would still go ahead but as stage two of the packaging plant which would be easier to fund as a start-up project.

"We are going to build a major frozen vegetable production facility, processing 45,000 tonnes in year one and 70,000 tonnes in years two and three," Mr Dorber said.

"The second stage is to build the cannery because people don't invest in start-ups anymore.

"Any analysis of the financials shows that anyone who invests will reap the rewards."

Mr Dorber said he has spent eight passionate years and regrettably had three setbacks in his quest for the cannery, even announcing in 2014 that it would be open by 2016.

He blamed Chinese-backed deals falling through for setbacks and the lack of B-double access for a site earmarked at Grantham.

Mr Dorber said all that was needed to get the frozen packaging plant off the ground was $5 million to purchase a 52 acre site at Withcott.

He had plans to raise the capital through a crowd funding campaign, but that idea was canned after he was informed by three crowd funding organisations that it was "too difficult".

Another Ave he was tempted to explore was converting a small portion of the people behind hundreds of thousands of likes on a social media page into financial backers.

"I've 655,00 likes on the cannery Facebook page and if I was able to approach all of them and only 5,000 of them wanted to up a $1,000 …, they would not only have a you-beaut processing facility bit the would own it," he said.

"The demand for frozen products has overwhelmed retailers and suppliers."

A frozen packaging plant or cannery were great in theory, according to Lockyer Valley Growers president Michael Sippel who said he's never heard from Mr Dorber.

"What concerns me even more is that he has not sat down with one of them (the growers) and about what, and how much, they can supply," Mr Sippel said.

The Lockyer Valley Council would only say that they had not had any formal discussions with Mr Dorber in recent years.

Mr Dorber said his consortium had been in talks with major national retailers and suppliers in regards to product and price.

"We could be buying as much as $70 million worth of vegetables from the Lockyer Valley region each year," he said.

"I can tell you now, we can match or better every canned vegetable, whether it be beetroot, pineapples, mushrooms or beans any imported price.

"With our facilities, labour costs are six per cent because we have scoured the world for the very best technology and we can build a facility that so is efficient. I call it plug and play technology."

Mr Dorber runs Employment Advocacy Solutions and is a director of more than half a dozen companies including Lockyer Valley Clean & Green Pty Ltd which is "a shelf company" designed to be a holding facility for the 52 acre property.

He said now lives in the region, tried contacting Mr Sippel two weeks ago and has spent all his own money trying to get his dream to come to fruition.

"I've not directly spoken to him but everyone knows how I am and he can contact me anytime he likes," he said.

"It's not all good intentions, it's bloody hard work."