ONE of the Sunshine Coast's premier farming enterprises, Gowinta Farms, has been sold for a discount of more than 70 per cent to fruit sellers Don Alroe & Sons.
Gowinta Farms collapsed under heavy debts in November, 2012, and the company, which owns 11 farms, was placed in the hands of administrators, Rodgers Reidy.
Earlier that year Bundaberg-based Barbera Farms, which supplied about 65 per cent of Australia's capsicums, went into receivership as well as Australia's largest tomato producer, SP Exports.
Gowinta was unable to pay its debts as and when they fell due, leaving secured creditors such as BankWest, which held the mortgage, owed at least $13.6 million.
Paul Alroe, who runs Don Alroe & Sons, confirmed that a transaction to buy the farms covering 84 hectares had been finalised.
It is believed Mr Alroe paid $4.1 million but he declined to comment on price.
"I did a very good deal," Mr Alroe said.
"I intend to build it back up and have it looking immaculate."
Mr Alroe's business has been operating at Brisbane Fruit and Vegetable Market for more than half a century.
He operates 180ha of fruit farms and had an existing business relationship with Gowinta Farms.
The properties at 160 Burys Road, Beerwah, Queensland, grow strawberries, pineapples, lychees and raspberries.
A plan to maintain the properties during their administration was enacted.
Mr Alroe said he was sympathetic towards the original farmers whose business had fallen into administration but that there was all too often a feeling farmers had to keep on expanding.
"I think the farming industry is doing it tough," he said.
"I think farmers are growing too much; instead they should be growing a bit
smaller and focus on quality."
Administrators Andrew Barnden and Rob Moodie appointed Colliers International's Rawdon Briggs and Jesse Manual to sell the properties.
The farms had water entitlements for irrigation as well as greenhouse, packing, administration and staff facilities, several houses and sheds, a caravan park and café.