HUNDREDS of growers have converged on workshops across Queensland to get up to speed with the new Horticulture Code of Conduct.
All major commodities were well-represented at workshops in Bowen, Mareeba, Gayndah, Bundaberg, Gatton and Stanthorpe in August.
Peak advocacy group Growcom hosted the workshops with support from regional horticulture bodies and the ACCC to inform growers of their rights and obligations under the new Code.
Growers also heard from Code compliant online marketplace the HiveXchange about its online consignment tool.
Growcom chief advocate, Rachel Mackenzie, said the new Code, introduced on April 1, 2017, was designed to reflect the flexibilities which must operate in the market place.
“It is important that growers understand the Code is ultimately there to protect them,” she said.
“Any contract they are presented with is the start, not the end, of the negotiation, and they must read everything carefully.
“I cannot emphasise enough the need for growers and traders to ensure they are compliant with the revised Code – the ACCC has made it clear growers and traders must be compliant or run the risk of penalties and fines. There are no exemptions unless growers supply direct to exporters, processors or supermarkets.”
Ms Mackenzie, who presented horticulture produce agreement (HPA) template interactive sessions at each workshop, said it was heartening to see growers so engaged.
“Based on the enthusiasm in the room and feedback from people who attended, I’m confident growers left our workshops with a better understanding of their rights and obligations under the new Code,” she said.
“It was valuable for each participant to leave equipped with a template HPA and some solid ideas about how to streamline compliance and what to do if things go wrong.
“Growcom would like to thank the Bowen Gumlu Growers Association, Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers, Gayndah & District Fruitgrowers Association, Mareeba District Fruit and Vegetable Growers, Lockyer Valley Growers and staff at the Applethorpe DAF for their assistance in hosting the workshops.
“We also thank the HiveXChange for their sponsorship and the VegNET program, which is a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund, for their support.”
Growcom will host one final Hort Code workshop on the Sunshine Coast on October 12.
To register, visit www.growcom.com.au/hort-code-of-conduct/#!form/HortCodeWorkshopsEO
- Copy supplied by Growcom.