By Growcom CEO, David Thomson 

Exploitation of workers has again hit the headlines following the release of the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Harvest Trail Inquiry report last week highlighting the need for training and certification programs such as Fair Farms. 

Growcom has been developing the Fair Farms Training and Certification program to tackle worker exploitation head on and address the issues raised by the FWO in their report. 

Growcom has a zero tolerance for worker exploitation and growers who do the right thing are sick of the sector’s reputation being dragged into the mud by poor operators who don’t pay their workers properly or use illegal workers. 

The Fair Farms Training and Certification program is designed to effectively shut out the dodgy growers from the supply chain through an independent third-party audit mechanism supported by training. 

Whilst the figures in the report are very concerning, there are still a significant number of growers who are fully compliant, and we want to reward these growers through the certification mechanism within Fair Farms.  

Fundamentally, we want to make it easy for good growers to get good workers so the Australian public can get good fresh produce. 

With support from major retailers, the pilot phase is currently underway, and we are working towards having the program operational by early 2019.  

To assist in the roll-out, Growcom has appointed Thomas Hertel as the Program Manager for the Fair Farms Training and Certification Program.  

Growcom will continue to work closely with the FWO to implement the recommendations of the report but we will also push for the development of a horticulture workforce strategy to address some of the underlying labour supply issues within the sector. 

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