The South Australian horticultural sector is set to benefit from the rationalisation of the national fresh fruit and vegetable sectors through the merger of the LaManna Group and Premier Fruits Group from July 1. The chief executive of the combined group Anthony Di Pietro said the merger of the two companies will create a stronger, more sustainable business. Mr Di Pietro said the combined businesses will benefit from significant scale benefits and a more efficient supply chain to better service its customers. Premier, a grower, marketer and exporter, bought the prominent South Australian horticultural companies Freshway Farms and Stam Fruit Supply, as part of a national and overseas growth strategy in November 2014. The combined business employs up to 100 people on its farms and in the Central Market in South Australia, and 600 people nationally, while its total turnover is understood to be about $500 million. Mr Di Pietro said the implications for SA are all positive and will help it expand its protective cropping and varietal development, while serving as a valuable gateway to the east and west and a central hub from northern Australia.