Horticultural business Costa said the $60 million expansion was likely to create 200 ongoing jobs, and 200 during construction.
The venture is getting $1.8 million from state coffers toward the expansion, which is due for completion by the end of next year.
Premier Jay Weatherill said there was a growing confidence in the state’s food and wine sector.
“Costa had lots of choices about how to expand its operations — they don’t for instance have an operation in New South Wales — we were very pleased to be able to encourage them to take their next big investment here in South Australia,” he said.
With mushroom production in five states, Costa is one of the nation’s biggest horticultural producers.
Extra jobs ‘good news’ says SA Government
The Monarto expansion is expected to double production there from 120 to 240 tonnes per week.
SA Investment and Trade Minister Martin Hamilton-Smith said the good news countered other media attention on the state’s job losses.
“The dining boom and the wine boom are going to be heard much more of in years to come,” he said. “The focus has been on mining, but food and wine is the story of the future.”
Mr Weatherill said there would be significant direct investment by the State Government in growth sectors such as food and tourism in the state budget unveiled next month.
“It’s going to be big,” he said. “Big means big.”
Energy concerns in SA and Victoria
While mushrooms thrive in the dark, Costa is looking to the sun to help it deal with soaring energy costs for its Monarto production facility.
Chief executive Harry Debney said the board was about to deal with plans to build a solar farm near the Monarto site, and a further one after the expansion.
“We think it’s inevitable that we should go to alternative energy sources, but I’ve got to say the increasing cost and uncertainty about electricity generation does drive us more closely towards that,” he said.
“It was an easy decision to say we’ll use Monarto as a test site.”
Mr Debney said energy security for another of its mushroom production facilities, in Victoria, was of greater concern than any issues it was facing in South Australia. “We’ve just spent over $2 million putting in five standby generators because we’re more concerned about ongoing generational capacity interruption in Victoria than we are in South Australia,” he said.