Code of good practice set up for plant trading

The British Protected Ornamentals Association (BPOA) has launched a code of good trading practice for plants and flowers at its annual conference (9 October).

The code is designed to formalise "gentlemen's agreements" to bring "greater transparency and fewer misunderstandings" between retailers and growers.

The NFU body, along with West Sussex Growers Association, said the £1.6bn sector fell 14 per cent in 2011 and was poor in early 2013, creating "unfair burdens" on growers because retailers rejected plants they could not sell because of bad weather.

BPOA chairman Ian Riggs said: "The code is guidelines and does not detract from any grower-retailer negotiations. It's all about a fair distribution of risk that doesn't penalise growers."

The voluntary code encourages growers and retailers to agree on 15 points, subject to variation:

- Written contracts.

- Long-term contracts.

- Certainty on prices.

- Specified termination notice periods.

- Clear contract variation terms.

- Reserves guaranteed unless agreed in writing.

- Written financial penalties for non-compliance.

- Payment within 30 days.

- Bilateral forward planning.

- Planned promotions.

- Agreed specification.

- Non-exclusivity contracts.

- Supplier investment clarity.

- Legislation compliance.

- Other terms.

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