Big Two's code of conduct a 'joke' 

FARMERS have flatly rejected a voluntary code of conduct before federal parliament designed to control the way the two major supermarkets dealt with their suppliers.

The president of Riverina Citrus Growers Incorporated, Bart Brigenti, said the government was naive to think Coles and Woolworths would abide by a voluntary code, given their reputation for abusing their power.

"Coles and Woolworths have shown historically they're willing to abuse power, so I don't know why we'd all of the sudden trust them now," Mr Brigenti said.

"A voluntary code is just a joke and I think the voluntary nature was the stumbling block for the National Farmers' Federation.

"The supermarkets are in a unique position where they have all the power in the marketplace something you wouldn't find anywhere else in the world and, with that sort of power should come great regulation."

By signing up to the voluntary code, Coles and Woolworths have committed to stop charging suppliers for priority shelf space, changing supply contracts retrospectively and using suppliers' intellectual property for their own home brand lines.

The owner of Rossies Foodworks Tony Jones said he had a good relationship with local growers but couldn't order large enough quantities to warrant the farmers ignoring Coles and Woolworths.

"If the farmers don't deal with the Big Two (supermarkets) who dominate the majority share of the market around 80 per cent they are concerned with losing repeat business," Mr Rossi said.

"The competition is cut-throat and it's a very aggressive industry to be in.

"At the end of the day, the big two need the same amount of money as we need to run our business, so if they're cheaper than us they've undercut someone and it's generally the suppliers."

Rossies store manager Ross Catanzariti said Griffith took pride in buying local produce.

"When locals see that we are stocking locally produced groceries, they're really and truly pleased about it," he said.

"It's important to us to support local growers and it's good for our business people come to shop here as they know they will be able to support local industry."

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