Growers will be able to clearly demonstrate their compliance with workplace legislation when third party audited Freshcare certification becomes available under Growcom’s Fair Farms Initiative in 2018.
The national initiative, which Growcom launched in partnership with Freshcare and the Fair Work Ombudsman in 2017, is expected to progress to the audit stage of the pilot in early 2018.
Fair Farms aims to ensure that workers are treated fairly while employed in horticultural farms and pack houses. While the majority of growers aim to do the right thing, the actions of a few attract significant media coverage and tarnish the reputation of the industry as a whole.
A significant part of the pilot process has been working closely with growers to ensure the Fair Farms Freshcare training module is user friendly, relevant and easy to understand. The training will support growers with tools and information to implement employment practices which comply with workplace relations laws and industry standards, and to demonstrate this to customers and the wider community.
Clarification around HARPS
It seems there is some confusion around how the Harmonised Australian Retailer Produce Scheme (HARPS) will roll out through the supply chain. Growcom is working to provide clarity for growers around this process and will disseminate further information as it comes to hand.
Hort Code compliance
By 1 April, 2018 all Horticulture Produce Agreements (HPAs) must comply with the new Horticulture Code of Conduct. Growcom HPA templates are available at https://www.growcom.com.au/horticulture-produce-agreements-hpas/
These templates, developed in consultation with growers and solicitors, help outline the responsibilities of both parties and fulfil the legal requirement of a HPA under the Hort Code.
Hort Connections 2018
Growcom looks forward to being a co-host for industry conference trade show Hort Connections 2018 at the Brisbane Convention Centre from 18-20 June, 2018.
This event would be a great opportunity for Queensland’s new Agriculture Minister Mark Furner to engage with 3000 representatives from the horticulture industry, and we hope to see him there.