As probably the oldest incorporated top fruit co-operative in the country, AGA's
style has been to quietly service the growers they have and make adjustments when
the needs arise.
It all started some time in the 1930s when a restless ex-Wye College graduate and
fruit grower Cyrill Favell and five colleagues, George Ralling, John Bridges, Vernon
Beale, Tom Wimshurst and H.O. 'Bunny' Champneys had the foresight to co-operate
both in the bulk buying and selling of their fruit.
The first buildings were constructed in 1941 and consisted of two small offices and
a packing shed. An old Cutler grader preceeded an Australian Sunshine rotary
The big expansion came in 1959 when 17000 square feet of packhouse was built and
a double sided Femco grader, with a capacity of 800-1000 bushels per day was installed.
Membership grew to 23 growers totalling 700 acres, by which time the cold stores
had been built.
In the 1970s AGA looked to expand further and at that time Topfruit, which comprised
of about eight large growers, had been in operation for a number of years, but wanted
new premises when one of their growers retired from farming. They moved onto the
AGA site and a separate and friendly relationship grew between the two companies.
Three years later AGA stopped marketing on their own account and this was taken
over by Topfruit.
The AGA Packhouse continued grading and packing fruit into the mid 1990s. At this
time AGA engaged SGT Ltd as its marketing agent.
Moving into the 21st Century, AGA ceased its packing operation and concentrated
purely on the storage of fruit. In 2009 AGA was awarded a grant from SEEDA and five
new modern stores were erected to provide increased capacity. Further controlled
atmosphere storage was created in 2012 with the help of a Leader grant from DEFRA,
so that today there is capacity for the storage of over 2500 tonnes.
Currently AGA serves 9 grower members with a combined orchard area of over 1000
Looking forward, there is a continuous programme of upgrading existing storage facilities
to meet the demands of our members and their customers.