The Australian Government has granted $3.2 million to Growcom to bolster uptake of the Fair Farms program.
Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud said the funding would help more horticulture producers get on board with the program.
“The Fair Farms program is there to help horticulture business do the right thing, both for their employees and their businesses,” Minister 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.
“Fair Farms was put together by Growcom to support all members of the Australian horticulture supply chain with the tools, information and training they need to be a compliant and ethical employer.
“I encourage anyone involved in the horticulture supply chain to look into this 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.”
Growcom Chief Executive Officer Stephen Barnard said the Fair Farms program is a way for growers to show they are taking responsibility and doing the right thing by their employees.
“We are very excited by this investment from the Australian Government to support the further uptake of the industry led Fair Farms program,” Mr Barnard said.
“Growcom developed Fair Farms with industry to support growers and promote awareness and education of ethical employment practices across the fresh produce sector in Australia.
“By participating in the program, growers can confidently implement Australian workplace relations, laws and industry standards while doing what they do best – grow top-notch food for Australians.”
Yalara Hydrogardens located near Toowoomba grows leafy greens and recently became Fair Farms certified.
Yalara Hydrogardens’ Janice Cowie said the Fair Farms program confirmed the ethical practices they already had in place.
“If you feel that you are already an ethical grower, the Fair Farms program will confirm and support what you already have in place,” Ms Cowie said.
“The initial thought of another set of rules to abide by within our farming business – which we have run since 1994 relatively incident-free – was not something I was excited about.
“But once getting into the Fair Farms program, most of the guidelines and rules were common practice to our farm anyway.”