Organic farmers in Queensland’s Lockyer Valley will be among the first beneficiaries of Woolworths Organic Growth Fund in partnership with Heritage Bank. The $220,500 interest-free loan will be given to Australian Organic Farmers to go towards the installation of humidity-controlled storage facilities to help improve the shelf life of organic sweet potatoes and onions grown in the region.

The founder of Australian Organic Farmers, Anthony Bauer said: "While the tropical weather in Queensland generally provides good growing conditions, the humidity in some months makes storing fresh produce difficult, and often results in a lot of wasted product.”

“With the support of the Woolworths Organic Growth Fund, we’re now able to install a humidity-controlled storage facility that will prolong the shelf life of our sweet potatoes and onions by four to five weeks, and enable us to work around weather events such as storms and heat waves.”

“Ultimately, this will help ensure greater consistency of produce to consumers. It will also enable us to grow larger blocks and increase the supply of sweet potatoes and onions by 100 percent.”

Woolworths head of produce, Paul Turner said that Woolworths had seen considerable growth in the demand for organic produce. “Through our Organic Growth Fund, we’re delighted to be working with Australia’s best organic farmers to build the capacity that will allow us to meet the growing demand for organic produce into the future.”

Woolworths has since announced a second round of funding for the Organic Growth Fund.