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Push bears mixed fruit

A PUSH to bring quality assurance to WA farmers is bearing mixed fruit.

Export hay and olive producer Judy Jenkins said the accreditation push was forcing her out of hay production.

“This move is another nail in the coffin of the farming community,” Ms Jenkins said.

She said producers would need to present a full growing history of their products including the chemicals and fertilizers used.

“I see us not being able to sell any produce without having the accreditation,” Ms Jenkins said.

In her case, the accreditation of her hay would be vital to a farmer using the hay for feed.

That farmer would need to be able to show all the documentation on produce fed to his animals to guarantee their accreditation.

Ms Jenkins said by the time her olive trees came into production she would not be able to sell them to producers because she could not get accreditation.

“I won’t get accreditation because, in my research, I found the standards ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 don’t work,” she said.

Agriculture WA operations manager SQF 2000 John Noonan said there was nothing forcing producers to take on accreditation.

However, he said that more customers were asking for food and fibre producers to show quality assurance for their produce.

“Supermarket chains and many in the food service industry are placing their business with those who can quality assure their products,” Mr Noonan said.

He said the accreditation push would be tough on small producers in some cases.

However, Agriculture WA has introduced the Safe Quality Food 2000 code to make it easier for small producers. The even simpler SQF 1000 code is also available.

Quality assurance also loom as a major export issue.

Mr Noonan said there was a chance under World Trade Organisation rules that products could be precluded from sale if they did not have quality assurance.

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