Grower Group Scheme                    

Shared certification for a group of suppliers and a single buyer e.g. Wholesaler or Packhouse.

1 Market
1 Certificate
Multiple Growers

 Overview of a Grower Group

  • A pathway for buyers to support and manage the NZGAP certification of suppliers. 
  • The grower group system allows the wholesaler or packhouse business to set a credible Quality Management System (QMS) to:
    • Set a standard for suppliers to meet the requirements in a systematic and uniform way,
    • Builds trust and transparency with suppliers,
  • Reduces the direct compliance cost of the suppliers.
  • NZGAP grower group supports and strengthens the wholesaler or packhouse and supplier relationship.

How to set up a Grower Group:

Step 1: Employ a Quality/Assurance/Compliance Manager and up to two auditors to implement the QMS:

  • Internal Auditor: trained and competent to manage the business's QMS, review NZGAP inspection reports and conduct combined Food Act (if applicable) and NZGAP audits on members (suppliers),
  • Internal Inspector: trained and competent to conduct Food Act (if applicable) and NZGAP inspections on all members of the grower group against the NZGAP checklist.

Step 2: Set up a QMS to meet NZGAP certification requiremetns e.g. quality manual, complaints procedure, record keeping and document control, training and competency, corrective actions.

Step 3: Develop and implement QMS and audit/inspection process for auditing each member.

Step 4: Pass external audit by certification body which includes an audit of the QMS and a sample of members (square root of the total number in the group plus 50%).

Step 5: Work with NZGAP on the ongoing maintenance of the grower group and membership (e.g. annual renewal process, adding new members, Food Act).

Grower Group Certification Cycle:


What is a Quality Management System (QMS)? 

A QMS outlines the policies and processes needed to meet the NZGAP rules for the group. It sets up how growers are inspected, approved and join the group, how non-compliances are managed, and sanctions are applied. Many businesses build the NZGAP group requirements in beside their existing business systems.

The QMS works to ensure that all members of the grower group and their associated production sites comply with the NZGAP standard in a uniform way.

    External Audit

Your QMS will be assessed against an NZGAP QMS checklist by an external auditor (certification body) to ensure it is complete and effective.

The external auditor will also conduct an on-site audit on a sample of members each year in order to validate the findings of the inspection and the group scheme audit. The sample number is typically the square root of the total number of group members.

    Internal Audit

The internal inspection on each group member against the NZGAP food safety checklist and any add-ons as per the business's certification requirements e.g. EMS or Social Practice.

A grower group internal auditor will review inspection reports for each member. Once the inspection report has been signed off by the auditor the grower can be a member of the group.

Grower Group Information Pamphlet (click to download)