UK— Navara Oat Milling is set to build a new oat processing plant in Kettering, supported by a US$17.7 million asset finance funding packaging from HSBC UK, one of the largest banking and financial services institutions in the world.

Navara is a new joint venture between crop production and grain marketing company Frontier Agriculture, farmer owned cooperative Camgrain and ingredients manufacturer Anglia Maltings Holdings. 

Set for completion in 2023, the new facility is expected to create 120 new jobs – 60 during the construction phase and a further 60 to operate the new plant once complete.

Camgrain has the largest network of farmer-owned grain stores for its 550 farmer members and can store more than 500,000 tonnes of grain.

This new move will give provenance for the oats it will process and the group will only deal directly with growers, rather than trade in second-hand oats. The new business will also look to offer contracts for its growers.

Mark Aitchison, managing director of Frontier and chairman of the new joint venture said: “There’s increasing demand for oat ingredients in healthy food products and non-dairy drinks.  

“Our collective vision is to build and grow a dedicated oat supply chain, bringing farmer and food manufacturer closer together and delivering improvements that benefit each sector and the environment. The support from HSBC UK has been invaluable in enabling us to bring our plans to life.” 

Drawing in grain from across central England, the site is expected to have the potential to process 280,000 tonnes of oats a year and could attract growers looking for a low-input cereal with less need for expensive nitrogen fertilizer.

Allan Wilkinson, UK head of Agrifoods at HSBC UK, added: “The demand for oat-based products has increased heavily due to the proven health benefits, with many switching to plant-based products as part of their diet. We’re delighted to be supporting this new venture, which brings together three of our existing clients, boosting oat production across Europe”.

The plant is being built alongside an existing Camgrain store between Kettering and Corby in the heart of oat growing territory and will tap into a growing demand for oats in the UK and globally.

In light of this, the development of oat milling capacity in the UK has rapidly grown over the past two years.  

The previous month saw Canadian agribusiness Richardson International Limited announced substantial investment at its oat mill in Bedford to boost capacity by at least 35%. Separately, Swedish oat drink firm Oatly announced the construction of its first UK factory, which it claimed would create 200 jobs. 

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