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Coronavirus

USDA to buy $40 million in pistachios

USDA ARS WFP-ARS-pistachios.jpg
Peaches, apricots, and Pacific fish are also included in the agency's $159.4 million coronavirus-driven purchase.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced it will purchase $40 million worth of pistachios and distribute them to a variety of domestic food assistance programs, including charitable institutions.

The purchase is part of the USDA's move to buy $159.4 million in domestically produced fruit, nuts, legumes and seafood to to address the disruptions in the food system supply chain and worsened food insecurity resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among other purchases of foods produced in the West will include $6.5 million in canned, dried and frozen apricots; $8 million in prepared peaches and $17 million combined for Pacific pink shrimp, rockfish fillets and whiting fillets, according to a news release.

“The impacts of COVID-19 reverberated from our farms to our oceans,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “U.S. fisheries and the American seafood industry were dealt a heavy blow. Today, USDA is pleased to make the largest single seafood purchase in the Department’s history.

"These healthy, nutritious food purchases will benefit food banks and non-profits helping those struggling with food hardship as the Biden administration works to get the economy back on track for American families," he said.

The inventories of commodities included in the purchase 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, according to the agency. This is the largest purchase of U.S. raised seafood by the USDA to date.

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.

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