In light of the recent Barley Standards Review, the Western Australian Farmers Federation (Inc.) (WAFarmers) Grains Council is urging the Grains Industry Association of WA (GIWA) to reconsider the processes it uses to make decisions which impact on grain growers.
Feedback to the Council suggests that many growers are not clear about the role that GIWA plays in the setting of receival standards with the process being too heavily weighted towards the interests of traders, rather than the grains industry as a whole.
WAFarmers Grains Council Spokesperson, Mic Fels, said the current process of consultation with growers, through a written submission, was an inappropriate and ineffective means of establishing a meaningful dialogue with growers.
“GIWA should consider hosting regional grower meetings to discuss issues such as receival standards, as occurred pre-deregulation by the Australian Wheat Board (AWB) and the Grain Pool,” Mr Fels said.
“In the past, growers were given the opportunity to provide feedback on the often contentious issue of receival standards through local grower meetings with the body responsible for setting receival standards.
“This allowed for the proposed changes to be explained in full detail, while allowing growers the opportunity to provide feedback unequivocally and directly.
“The current process based on written submissions indicates that GIWA is out of touch with growers’ needs and the time poor and largely practical nature of their occupation. This shows either a lack of respect, or a lack of understanding of the value of growers contribution to the industry and as a result, the credibility of GIWA is compromised from a growers’ perspective.”
Mr Fels said while growers logically represent 50 per cent of the grain supply chain, they are clearly outnumbered, in terms of representation on GIWA, making it difficult to sway the outcomes of issues.
“If GIWA aims to represent the interests of all stakeholders in the grain supply chain, they need to better acknowledge and represent the vitally important role growers play in that supply chain,” he said.
"GIWA needs to make significant changes to its current model, both to better represent growers’ needs and its accountability to growers, particularly when it comes to issues which impact on every WA grain producer such as receival standards.
“Without grain growers, there is no grains industry,” Mr Fels concluded.