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Countdown Commits To Growing Back Better With Over $750,000 Of Support For Its Growers Impacted By Cyclone Gabrielle

Countdown has today announced a range of targeted support to help growers who have been impacted the most severely by Cyclone Gabrielle to get back on their feet.

The package of support includes $700,000 ring-fenced for cash grants, a $50,000 donation to Rural Support Trust, and other in-kind targeted support as well as commitments around future growing agreements.

Countdown’s Commercial Director for Fresh, Pieter de Wet, says that as growers continue to assess their needs three weeks on from the devastating cyclone, the retailer is committed to helping their partners in a practical and meaningful way.

“The weather events over the past few weeks have caused immense destruction that will have a long-lasting impact on many communities and their livelihoods. That includes our growers who play a vital role in ensuring Kiwi have access to healthy fresh fruit and veg” says de Wet.

“The direct partnerships we have with our growers have never been more important. I’ve been humbled to visit some of them on the ground in the last couple of weeks to talk to them about their needs and how Countdown can help them recover.”

“We recognise that as a large business that relies on our growers having sustainable businesses, it’s our responsibility to step up and help them when they need it most, which is why I’m incredibly proud of the commitments we’re making today.”

Richard Burke, Chief Executive of LeaderBrand Produce, says that having strong partnerships with large retailers like Countdown will be essential for getting back to normal as quickly as possible following Cyclone Gabrielle.

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“When things like this happen, it’s great to know that your partners really do have your back. Having the Countdown team in Gisborne after the Cyclone meant they were able to see the challenges we are facing on the ground and give us practical support. Helping to cover the cost of trucking in water, which is essential to operate our salad house, will get us back-up and running quicker. Countdown’s commitments to growers like us, give us the certainty we need to look ahead and it truly does make a huge difference.”

Anthony Blundell, Managing Director of Kaipara Kumara explains that as they look towards recovery, commitments like this from Countdown are extremely important.

“It was great to have some of the Countdown team on the farm last week. It’s been a really tough couple of months, and we know that our communities rely on us for their veg, and for their livelihoods. That’s why we’re grateful for the support that’s been offered, and looking forward to working even more closely together with Countdown in the coming months ”

Countdown has made six commitments to its grower community. These are:

We commit to providing cash grants to our affected growers who need support with recovery, and we’ve ring-fenced $700,000 specifically for this.

We commit to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of those working in primary industries, and we’re making an immediate donation of $50,000 to the Rural Support Trust.

We commit to standing by our growers over the longer term. We won’t end any growing agreements with growers in affected areas because of disruption from Cyclone Gabrielle.

We commit to working with our growers to help them mitigate their increased costs of doing business from Cyclone Gabrielle wherever we can.

We commit to being flexible and responsive to our growers needs.

We commit to specifically promoting our Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne growers’ produce in our stores and online so that customers can show their support.

Over the past month, Countdown has also donated $450,000 in food and funds to help charities and organisations providing on-the-ground assistance and support to the most impacted communities from recent extreme weather events. Thanks to the generosity of thousands of Kiwi, the supermarket has also fundraised a further $250,000 which will go a long way towards helping provide essential support as people look to recover.

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