Prices of fruit and vegetables will increase by 60% as a result of seasonal workers closing the border
- Prices for fruit and vegetables will increase by 60 percent later this year
- The COVID-19 pandemic has expelled thousands of backpackers from Australia
- As a result, there are massive vacancies in horticulture
- Consumers are warned that they may have to pay 60 percent more for fresh food
Prices for fruits and vegetables will rise by as much as 60 percent, as the corona virus border closures exclude seasonal workers.
Farms are likely to be forced to raise their wages to attract local workers or not to harvest their produce.
The workforce usually consists of young people from Europe and Southeast Asia with visas for working holidays, but that source of work has largely dried up because they cannot enter the country, and many who were already here have been forced to return home.
The working holiday visa program accounts for 80 percent of the harvest workers.
Prices for fruit and vegetables will increase by 60 percent after the corona virus saw a significant decrease in the number of horticultural workers doing harvesting (stock)
According to the Australian Fresh Produce Alliance (AFPA), the Australian Fresh Produce Alliance (AFPA) also prohibits industry from using itinerant workers to move from one crop to another.
‘The decrease in the number of workers we see as a result of COVID-19, plus the problems we encounter in moving workers to production sites, make it even more difficult for fruit and vegetable growers to retain the necessary staff to continue with provides all Australians with fresh food, “said AFPA CEO Michael Rogers.
Food shortages due to non-harvests or higher wages will result in higher prices, with Mr. Rogers saying that consumers should prepare for peaks by the end of the year, with November and December expected to be the most challenging.
AFPA has lobbied with the government to provide one-off payments of $ 1,200 to lure the growing number of unemployed Australians into cities to move to farms for harvesting.
“Australians have always been encouraged to do this kind of work, but despite high unemployment, we still see Australians’ use of picking fruits and vegetables at 8 percent or even lower,” Rogers said.
There are currently only 70,000 harvest rolls in Australia, with the usual number of backpackers at 140,000.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that has expelled thousands of backpackers from Australia, work resources have dried up (stock)
Consumers are warned that they may have to pay 60 percent more for fruit and vegetables, as the working holiday visa program represents 80 percent of the harvest staff (messages depicted in Sydney)
On Tuesday, it was announced that farm workers from Vanuatu will be brought to Australia to pick mangoes, despite a continued ban on overseas arrivals.
Despite burgeoning local unemployment, up to 170 of foreign workers will be brought to the Northern Territory in anticipation of next month’s harvest, and more will follow if the process is successful.
All people who come to the country will be quarantined for two weeks, while NT’s Chief Health Officer will receive final approval upon recruitment.
Given the prospect of a wage increase to attract local workers, industry will instead be able to keep production costs down by introducing temporary workers.
“Northern Territory mango producers, in particular, are facing a difficult road without the workers they rely on for their harvest,” Federal Minister of Agriculture David Littleproud said Tuesday.
Mango trees at the Coastal Plains Research Farm, 60 km east of Darwin in the Northern Territory
“That comes to a head when the mango harvest starts seriously in September.”
Mr. Rogers said he welcomes Minister Littleproud’s announcement and appreciates the commitment “the government has shown to find solutions to the challenges of the workforce.”
“Such trials are important so that the industry can work with the government to find practical solutions to potential labor shortages,” he said.
“It is important to understand that industry crop harvests support regional economies, full-time employment of Australians, but most importantly support access to fruits and vegetables for all Australians.”