Australian supermarket chain Woolworths is offering $30m fund to assist farmers in a move to meet customer demand for organic fruit and vegetables across its stores.
The supermarket chain has partnered with Heritage Bank to provide the organic growth fund to farmers in Australia.
Woolworths’ organic growth fund will be used to enhance quality, range and volume of locally produced organic fruit and vegetables.
Organic fruit and vegetable growers in the country will now receive grants and interest-free loans over the next five years to expand their operations.
Woolworths Supermarkets managing director Claire Peters said: “There’s no doubt more Australian customers are choosing to buy organic and are seeking fruit and vegetables that are the product of the best of what Australia’s natural farming resources have to offer.
“Working with Heritage Bank, the Woolworths Organic Growth Fund represents our long-term commitment to satisfying this growing consumer demand, allowing 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 that will enable the range of organic fruit and vegetables on offer to grow, making it more readily available and affordable for customers.”
In addition, the company will also offer contracted purchase volumes to farmers, enabling them to supply organic fruit and vegetables to its stores.
Tasmania-based apple orchardist R&R Smith will be the first farm to expand its operations through the Fund.
R&R Smith owner and manager Andrew Smith said: “We continue to see ongoing demand for our organic apples. 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.”