Wednesday 17 October, 2018: The quality, range and volume of locally produced organic fruit and vegetables available to Australian shoppers is set to improve, following the launch of the $30 million Woolworths Organic Growth Fund.
The Woolworths Organic Growth Fund has been established in partnership with Heritage Bank, Australia’s largest customer-owned bank, to help Aussie farmers meet the growing consumer demand for organic fruit and vegetables.
The fund will allocate grants and interest-free loans over the next five years to Australian organic fruit and vegetable growers looking to expand their operations and those keen to become part of the burgeoning organic industry. Farmers will also have contracted purchase volumes, providing them with the certainty of longer-term supply of organic fruit and vegetables to Woolworths.
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. In the last five years, demand has been growing at a rate of 20% year on year in the organic produce category.
"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.”
Fourth generation family run apple orchardist R&R Smith from Tasmania will be the first farm to benefit from the Fund.
Owner and Manager of R&R Smith, 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.”
For further information on the Woolworths Organic Growth Fund: www.woolworths.com.au/organicgrowthfund