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Govt connecting kiwis to affordable, healthy food - O'Connor

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Funding for innovative projects to connect Kiwis with affordable, safe and wholesome food, reduce food waste, and help our food producers recover from COVID-19 has been announced today by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

"COVID-19 has seen an increasing number of families facing unprecedented financial pressure. Foodbanks and community food service providers are reporting two or three times their usual demand," Damien O’Connor said.

"The global pandemic has disrupted food supply chains and food retailers, making it difficult for some New Zealander’s to access to affordable and healthy food and risking significant food waste.

"The Government wants to ensure food keeps getting to the tables of hungry New Zealand families. COVID-19 has hit vulnerable communities the hardest so in Budget 2020 we set aside $14.9 million over two years to redirect food from the primary sector that would otherwise be wasted, to those in need.

"The first thing we did was scale up school and community programmes with an additional 100,000 fruit and vegetable boxes to children over 10 weeks. We also met the cost of processing and distributing surplus pork meat to families in need to help resolve an oversupply of New Zealand pork, while providing high-quality nutrition. The Government also provided $32 million for funding foodbanks and food rescue.

"These initiatives have been addressing a short-term, critical need. While they’ve been ticking along we’ve been looking for longer-term solutions to help address food insecurity and food waste.

"We’ve been looking for innovations and new technologies and - with that funding from Budget 2020 - we’ve identified five initiatives which will receive initial funding of up to $100,000 each for a ten-week development and trial period. The projects are:

- an online marketplace for food producers to list surplus product.

- a produce box-based supply channel, capable of providing a selection of produce to vulnerable households impacted by COVID-19.

- an online marketplace platform focused on supporting the smaller in-shore fishing fleet by connecting fishers directly with local consumers.

- an online marketplace which uses a unique algorithm to connect consumers to local producers and a delivery service.

- an extension to the ‘Meat the Need’ programme to a new charitable supply chain.

"These projects will take New Zealand’s excellent produce, seafood and meat and make it more affordable to the communities that need it the most."

About the projects being funded

Meat the Need - The Meat the Need programme distributed high quality meat to vulnerable New Zealand communities immediately after lockdown. Meat the Need will fast track another offering to complement their current provision of farmer-donated meat to charities. A new charitable supply chain proposal allows dairy farmers around the country to donate milk and negotiate with milk processors to receive the donations and process them into items for supply to food banks such as UHT/ long-life milk, cheese, or infant formula.

Yume - A ten-week feasibility study will determine the viability of bringing Yume Food to the New Zealand market. The Yume platform provides an online marketplace for food producers to list surplus product. Their buyers are typically larger catering companies, smaller food manufacturers and hospitality businesses. Any unsold surplus food is donated to charities.

Agrichain - The proposal explores a produce box-based supply channel, capable of providing a selection of produce to vulnerable households impacted by COVID-19. The solution is meant to reduce supply chain costs, and give vulnerable consumers options to purchase and have affordable, wholesome and safe produce delivered direct to their homes. Agrichain will work in partnership with Māori and Pasifika communities, United Fresh and Horticulture New Zealand.

eCatch - This online marketplace platform is focused on supporting the smaller in-shore fishing fleet. It will connect fishers directly with local consumers in an easy-to-use platform, while still allowing them to remain compliant with reporting requirements.

Totally Local - This online marketplace allows consumers to support local growers and producers, leading to sustainable communities who prosper. It uses a unique algorithm to connect consumers to local producers and a delivery service.

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