Friday, May 31, 2024

FMA seeks ‘fair go’ for wholesalers

Fresh Markets Australia (FMA) is coordinating a national campaign to secure a “fair go” for its 400 member wholesalers under the mandatory Horticulture Code of Conduct.

The code, which determines how central-market fruit and vegetable wholesalers transact with growers, is under review ahead of its expiry in April 2017. The review panel – which has no wholesaler representation – is scheduled to report to the Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, on November 1.

FMA Executive Director Andrew Young said the FMA and the six central markets it represented had each made formal submissions to the review to put forward the case for reform.

“FMA supports the review of the code,” he said. “It presents the opportunity to ensure that equitable, effective, commercially viable terms of trade between wholesalers and growers can be properly codified.

“It’s critical for Australia’s horticulture industry that we get the code of conduct right.

“FMA has presented the review panel with an amended version of the current code, which will deliver a more relevant, realistic and equitable set of rules under which fruit and vegetable growers and wholesalers can operate.”

Mr Young said the six central markets turned over $7 billion a year and were significant employment hubs, with more than 17,500 people employed directly or working on-site to buy fresh produce every day.

“Without the critical role played by central-market wholesalers – who handle produce from more than 90 per cent of Australia’s commercial fruit and vegetable growing establishments – Australia’s fruit and vegetable supply chain would collapse,” he said.

Mr Young said the code, introduced in 2007, had not achieved its objectives and needed to be changed.

“FMA believes an effective code that reflects the business needs of all stakeholders would improve commercial transparency in the fruit and vegetable industry, with better outcomes for growers and wholesalers,” he said.

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