AMS plans to release solicitation for coronavirus aid produce Friday
The Agriculture Department’s Agricultural Marketing Service plans to release the solicitation for fresh fruits and vegetables under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program on Friday, a high ranking AMS official said on a webinar with members of the United Fresh Produce Association today.
AMS is scheduled to buy $100 million in produce each month for six months and also buy $100 million per month in dairy products and $100 million per month in meat products.
Dave Tuckwiller, the deputy administrator for the USDA’s Commodity Procurement Plan, who made the announcement, said that AMS wants the bids back in one week and will make the awards a week after that.
Tuckwiller said that AMS will pay for the produce, what it costs to put the produce in boxes, and what it costs to transport the boxes to the food banks, schools and other nonprofits that will distribute it.
AMS has a list of approved providers under The Emergency Food Assistance Program, but participation is not limited to that list.
AMS wants to help farmers who sell their production locally in normal times. Produce has to be fresh, including fresh cut. High quality is expected, but there will be no grade specifications.
The solicitation will be on the AMS procurement page on its website, Tuckwiller said.
AMS wants to include Puerto Rico in the program, Tuckwiller said.
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