ZAPPALA Tropicals at Bellenden Ker has been named as the first Hort360 GBR Reef Certified producer, reinforcing the horticulture industry's ongoing commitment to best practice farming.
Launched in August 2020, Hort360 Reef Certification is a key component of the Hort360 Great Barrier Reef (Hort360 GBR) Best Management Practice program, funded through the Queensland Government's Reef Water Quality Program.
Through the voluntary uptake of Hort360 Reef Certification, industry can demonstrate stewardship towards protecting the Reef, while reaping the benefits of improved practices and profitability.
Hort360 manager, Scott Wallace, said Growcom had been working with growers for more than a decade to make changes to the way they farm to stop soil, pesticides, and nutrients impacting on Reef water quality.
Growcoms Hort360 GBR program has brought the industry together to record these practice changes showing how individual farms are attaining best management practice and what they need to do to exceed industry standards, Mr Wallace said.
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Through this independently audited certification Zappala
Zappala Tropicals farm manager, Josh Maunder, said Hort360 GBR had been a valuable tool in helping to achieve the business reduce its impact on the Reef.
We were the first horticultural business to complete all Hort360 GBR modules in 2017, so it was fitting that we become the first Reef Certified business as well, Mr Maunder said.
Reef Certification is an important step for us and provides our customers with an assurance that we are operating in accordance with best practice.
For us, its a good news story. A chance to show that horticulture can operate in the Reef catchment in a sustainable and responsible manner."
Mr Wallace said Hort360 GBR Reef Certification aligns and leverages current systems used by horticulture businesses which specifically provide a water quality outcome.
It is recognised that the majority of horticulture businesses operate within a food safety quality assurance system, and that some horticulture businesses also have an environmental certification, Mr Wallace said.
The Hort360 GBR Reef Certification framework specifically focuses on environmental stewardship and industry best practice standards in Reef catchments that will deliver on farm profitability and improved off farm water quality.
CLICK HERE to contact Growcom's Hort360 GBR team.
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