Australia: Make sure your horticulture trading agreements are legal

It’s been almost a year since the new Horticulture Code of Conduct came into effect. If you grow fruit or vegetables, or you source them from growers in Australia and sell them to other businesses as an agent or a merchant, your business activities are likely to be subject to the Code.

The Code sets out a series of rights and obligations that apply between people trading in horticulture produce, including a requirement to have a written contract called a Horticulture Produce Agreement (HPA).

Not sure how your HPA should look? The ACCC have produced template HPAs for both merchant and agent relationships with growers.

It’s also in your interest to have an HPA because it protects you. It ensures there is transparency in the relationship between growers and traders so that each has a clear understanding of the terms under which they are trading.

As your HPA defines your trading relationship, you can’t just put it away and forget about it. You need to make sure you are acting within the terms of your HPA. The Code also has record keeping obligations that, among other things, say you need to keep a copy of all your HPAs.

At the very latest, you have until 1 April 2018 to be fully compliant with the Code. So whether you are a grower or a trader, now is the time to put a HPA in place because it is against the law to trade in horticulture produce without one.

Source: PMA A-NZ

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