THE Fair Farms program continues to gain recognition with the National Farmers' Federation officially endorsing it.
Fair Farms aims to provide the horticulture supply chain with the tools, information and training needed to be a compliant and ethical employer.
The program provides support for farm employers and a pathway to independent third-party audit and certification of fair employment practices.
It is a national initiative developed and implemented with support from the Fair Work Ombudsman, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, and Ausveg.
In December 2021, Sachin Ayachit was appointed the new national program manager for Fair Farms.
NFF president and horticulture council chair Fiona Simson said the quality of Australia's fresh produce stood out domestically and overseas and its reputation would be further bolstered by an appreciation among consumers and trade partners for the high bar set by Australian employment standards.
"Supply chain partners and consumers can take confidence their fresh produce is grown ethically - with businesses undertaking Growcom's Fair Farms program having their employment practices assessed against the Fair Farms standard through an independent, third-party audit," Ms Simson said.
"Endorsement of Fair Farms by the NFF Horticulture Council also sends a strong signal to those nations from where we gratefully receive many migrant workers that our industry is serious about continuously improving the experience of their citizens while engaged in essential harvest work."
We believe the significance of Fair Farms for our industry is only going to increase as consumers, both at home and abroad, look for ethical sourcing credentials.- Michael Coote, CEO, Ausveg
Growcom chief executive officer Stephen Barnard said with the ongoing support from industry groups like the NFF and the Australian Government, the Fair Farms program was poised to grow dramatically in the coming years.
He said the federal funding will allow Fair Farms to roll-out comprehensive training and awareness programs across the horticulture sector and guarantee real results for the industry.
"It is our intention to do justice to the overwhelming majority of employers across Australia horticulture who we know are exemplary employers," Mr Barnard said.
Ausveg CEO Michael Coote said the program was positions Australian growers at the head of the pack.
"We believe the significance of Fair Farms for our industry is only going to increase as consumers, both at home and abroad, look for ethical sourcing credentials," Mr Coote said.
In announcing the funding last October, federal agriculture minister David Littleproud said encouraged anyone involved in the horticulture supply chain to look into the program.
"We believe this program is a game-changer for the horticulture industry and funding will also help Growcom look at expanding it to other relevant agricultural sectors at a later stage," Mr Littleproud said.
"We know that most farmers want to do the right thing by their workers but navigating employment and work health and safety regulations can be a struggle."
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