The Horticulture Code of Conduct (‘the Code’) regulates trade in horticulture produce between growers and wholesalers / traders of fresh fruit and vegetables and aims to to ensure transparency and clarity of transactions. It provides a fair and equitable dispute resolution procedure for disputes arising under the Code or a horticulture produce agreement.
Horticulture Produce Agreement
Under the Horticulture Code a trader must prepare and publish a terms of trade document which contains information to help growers make an informed decision before entering into a horticulture produce agreement with the trader. A trader and a grower must enter into a signed and written Horticulture Produce Agreement that complies with the Code before they can trade with each other. A horticulture produce agreement must:
- be in writing;
- be signed by the parties to it;
- cover specific matters required by the Horticulture Code.
The Code contains specific protections for growers and covers matters such as acceptance of deliveries, when title to the produce passes, time for payment, duties of the agent, bad debts and other matters.
Before entering into a Horticulture Produce Agreement, a growers should get legal advice about the nature of any arrangement they intend to enter into with a trader. In fact, if the agreement is for a term of 90 days or more, the trader has to check that the grower has received independent legal advice about the agreement.Dispute Resolution
If a dispute arises, growers and traders may use any dispute resolution procedures they choose to attempt to resolve the dispute between them.
However, where a grower or trader elects to use the procedure set out in the Code to resolve a horticulture dispute with another person, both parties must participate in the procedure set out in the Code.
See: Resolving Disputes for information on the procedure to be used.Role of the ACCC
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) administer and enforce the Horticulture Code. The ACCC also investigates alleged breaches of the Code. It can take enforcement action if it considers it appropriate under its compliance and enforcement policy.