As part of its ongoing efforts to address food insecurity resulting from the pandemic, USDA announced it will purchase up to $159.4 million in domestically produced seafood, fruits, legumes, and nuts for distribution to a variety of domestic food assistance programs, including charitable institutions. The largest amount was approved for pistachios ($40 million), followed by Alaskan Pollock ($20 million; chickpeas and dry peas ($10 million each); salmon ($8.9 million) and prepared peaches ($8 million). These purchases are being made utilizing funds under the authority of Section 32 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act. “The impacts of COVID-19 reverberated from our farms to our oceans,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
USDA pointed out that inventories of these selected commodities are in high oversupply due to a decrease in demand because of the COVID-19 pandemic and disruption in the supply chain, as restaurants and other outlets closed during the pandemic. This is the largest purchase of U.S. raised seafood by the USDA to date.
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Within a few days of approval, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service will offer these commodities to their networks. Orders should be received during the first week of June with solicitations being issued mid-June and awards occurring near the end of the month. Deliveries should start to occur by mid-August. Solicitations will be available electronically through the Web-Based Supply Chain Management (WBSCM) system and on the Agricultural Marketing Service's website at www.ams.usda.gov/selling-food. The full list of USDA purchases is here.
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