Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Woolies creates $30m organic fruit and veg fund

Woolworths has launched a $30 million fund to help Aussie farmers meet the growing demand for organic fruit and vegetables.

The supermarket established the fund, the Woolworths Organic Growth Fund, in partnership with Heritage Bank. It will allocate grants and interest-free loans over the next five years to Australian organic fruit and vegetable growers that want to expand their operations. It will also help those that are keen to become part of the burgeoning organic industry.

Farmers will have contracted purchase volumes, giving them the certainty of longer-term supply of organic fruit and vegetables to Woolworths.

Growing demand

“There’s no doubt more Australian customers are choosing to buy organic,” Woolworths Supermarkets Managing Director Claire Peters said. “They’re seeking fruit and vegetables that are the product of the best of what Australia’s natural farming resources have to offer.

“In the last five years, demand has been growing at a rate of 20 per cent year on year.

“Working with Heritage Bank, the Woolworths Organic Growth Fund represents our long-term commitment to satisfying this growing consumer demand. It will allow us to continue our partnership with local farmers to make sure we’re ready for future demand.

“With the assistance of the fund’s interest free loans and grants, we can help farmers adopt innovative approaches. They’ll enable the range of organic fruit and vegetables on offer to grow, making it more readily available and affordable for customers.”

Tassie orchard first to benefit

R&R Smith, a fourth-generation family-run apple orchardist in Tasmania, will be the first farm to benefit from the fund.

“We continue to see ongoing demand for our organic apples,” R&R Smith owner and manager Andrew Smith said.

“The support from the Woolworths Organic Growth Fund will be instrumental in helping us develop a new organic apple variety and bring it to market – an Australian first.”

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