Australia: Queensland growers call for wholesale market price transparency -

Australia: Queensland growers call for wholesale market price transparency

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Australia: Queensland growers call for wholesale market price transparency

Producer organization Growcom has called for the establishment of real time fruit and vegetable price information as part of its submission to the Horticulture Code of Conduct review. Australian dollars sq

In a release, Growcom chief executive officer Pat Hannan said while many growers confirmed their relationships with wholesalers had been in place for generations and were working very well, the system needed improvement.

"Growers have made it clear to Growcom that they want to know what price their product sells for at point of sale. They want transparency in their dealings with the wholesalers; they want real time price information and this should be readily achievable with modern technology," Hannan said.

"Horticulture produce selling is a bit like stocks and shares. The price can shift dramatically in a day and the price paid in the wholesale markets can then dictate the price in the supermarkets.

"However, the market information provided by the Market Information Services is not based on real sales data and is too slow."

He said it was disappointing the Horticulture Code of Conduct had been in place for 10 years yet Growcom continued to hear about examples of poor practice.

"We recommend that the mandatory Code of Conduct be revamped to include all first transactions by the grower, regardless of with whom.

"That includes processors, retailers and exporters as well as the central markets.

"An effectively enforced Code across the whole supply chain would deliver a profitable growing sector characterised by true market signals and fairer relationships between wholesalers, retailers and suppliers."

Under current legislation, growers and traders must enter into a signed and written horticulture produce agreement (HPA) that complies with the Horticulture Code before they can trade with each other. Traders can be either merchants or agents.

However, Hannan emphasized education about the Code had been poor and 15% of growers had not even heard of it.

He added there were still many examples of traders changing between acting as an agent and being paid commission or acting as a merchant and being paid up-front, from transaction to transaction, which means all the risk is borne by the grower.

"Moreover, the enforcement of the Code – a task which is the responsibility of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission - has been lacking," he said.

"Any wholesaler who is acting ethically and transparently has nothing to fear from the Code. The wholesale markets are a very important part of our supply chain. Growers need diverse routes to market. We would just encourage the wholesale markets to improve the performance of some traders.

"We remind the Federal Government that fairer competition for farm produce and farm sustainability and profitability are key goals in the current agricultural white paper. Here is one clear way to achieve an improved business environment."




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