DRC Trading Standards Section 14. Growers’ Agent Duties

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The grower and the grower’s agent duties and responsibilities should be stipulated in a written contract. In the absence of a contract, a grower needs to know that if an agent provides a written statement describing the terms and conditions (email, fax or mail) prior to the agent receiving the first lot, the grower is considered to have agreed to the terms stipulated in the written statement if the grower ships his produce to the agent after receiving a written statement to this effect.

An agent who does not have on file either a written contract or a written statement he has failed to prepare and maintain full and complete records.  An agent who fails to perform any specified task or duty, express or implied, may be held liable for any damages resulting therefrom.

Agents must be able to provide the grower with an accurate and detailed accounting covering all aspects of their handling of the produce and maintain records of all produce received and sold.

If the contract, or written statement, allows the agent to repack or regrade the product, the agent shall provide detailed results of all packing and grading operations, including the quantity lost through packing and grading and the quantity and quality packed out.

Pooling is not allowed unless a specific agreement with all growers in the pool is reached. If pooling is agreed upon, the accounting to each of the growers shall itemize the actual expenses incurred for the various operations conducted by the agent. This includes complete details of the disposition of the produce received from each grower including all sales, adjustments, rejections, details of consigned or jointed shipments and status of all claims filed with or collected from the carriers.

The agent shall prepare and maintain full and complete records of all details of the distribution as supporting evidence of a full accounting.  If an agent is working under a pool agreement with growers, the accounting shall show how the pool cost and pool sales prices were calculated. If the agent and the growers have agreed on a fixed charge to cover the various operations conducted by the agent, actual expenses incurred for stated services are not required to be shown in the accounting.

A grower’s agent may be held liable for any loss or damage resulting to growers due to his negligence or failure to perform any specified task or duty, express or implied, related to the transaction.