SAN DIEGO – The fresh produce industry in the US is committed to supplying fresh produce in the US and around the world throughout the duration of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Amid rapid changes to society stemming from the outbreak, the United Fresh Produce Association (UFPA) aims to keep industry players informed and connected to resources. UFPA has created a LinkedIn group for industry members to share specific needs here.
UFPA is working to connect associates in the retail and foodservice sectors and encourages foodservice distributors with extra inventory due to restaurants shutting down to post that information to the LinkedIn group. The association also recommends that foodservice suppliers directly contact retailers on their area.
Loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) of up to $2 million are available to small businesses, agricultural cooperatives, not-for-profit organizations, etc., in areas that have been declared a disaster area due to COVID-19. For industry players who live in a state that has not been declared a disaster area, UFPA encourages members to urge their state’s governor to ask for that declaration.
All loans can have payment terms of up to 30 years and have interest rates of 2.75 - 3.75%. To learn more about the program, visit SBA’s website here.
If the US experiences a total shut down, the White House, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have made it clear all food workers and businesses essential to the public health infrastructure will be allowed to work to keep the supply chain moving.
UFPA has created a webpage here, where the industry members can send consumers and employees with questions about COVID-19 and the produce industry. Information critical to keeping the supply chain moving for industry players can be found here.