Commission Joins Produce Associations in Urging USDA to Prioritize Funding for Fresh Produce Supply Chain
On behalf of California avocado growers, the California Avocado Commission joined 70 produce associations in signing a letter to Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, urging the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to take swift action in developing a market stabilization plan for the fresh produce industry.
In light of the devastating pressures placed upon the fruit and vegetable sector of the industry caused by COVID-19-related foodservice supply chain shutdowns, the letter urges Secretary Perdue to work with the industry to develop solutions that will help to prevent bankruptcies. The letter specifically requests collaboration on the following:
- USDA compilation of aggregate data on losses by PACA licensees due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Development of a USDA disbursement plan to pay grower-shippers, in whole or in part, for debts and contractual obligations that cannot be repaid due to the COVID-19-related collapse of the foodservice sector.
- Creation of a section 32-style purchase plan for the USDA to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables for federal feeding programs.
- Collaboration on a program to assist producers who have been negatively impacted by lost access to international trade markets.
- Utilization of all resources, including carryover funds from the prior fiscal year, at the USDA’s discretion to address the needs of the specialty crop industry.
A copy of the letter can be found in the right-hand navigation.