(Nov. 7) By next October, all grower-shippers and wholesalers will have an easier time serving the 268 worldwide commissaries operated by the Department of Defense.

The Defense Commissary Agency will handle procuring fruits and vegetables on a contract basis for the military stores from any produce company, regardless of size, that bids to become a supplier. This should streamline the process because produce will not have to go through the Defense Supply Center Philadelphia.

Details of how the bidding would work will be discussed at a round-table meeting of commissary agency senior officials Nov. 16 in Atlanta.

The agency did a test run of such a procurement system from January through July and increased tonnage sold at the commissaries by more than 25%. So the new system should benefit both grower-shippers and the nation’s military.

The produce industry gets the opportunity to supply a market that, until now, had required suppliers to go through a painful government procurement process before the produce made it to the commissaries. The new system also makes it easier for small growers to work with a primary supplier so that they, too, can sell to the commissaries.

And because the process is streamlined, it also should result in fresher produce on the commissary shelves, which, in turn, should spur sales.

Imagine that. Efficiency in government.