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Why your groceries are about to get MUCH more expensive as Aussie farmers are forced to destroy crops

Food prices seem to be skyrocketing as Australian farmers are forced to destroy crops after struggling to find enough pickers.

Farmers across the country are gearing up for this year’s crop, which is arguably one of the largest the country has seen in five years.

But travel restrictions and border closures have created major problems in the search for workers to pick the crops.

Australia’s $ 14.4 billion horticultural industry relies heavily on Pacific island workers and backpackers to fill those jobs.

Farmers predict they will struggle to fill the estimated 40,000 harvest positions with fewer than 8,000 seasonal workers in the country and hardly any backpackers arrive since March.

Luciano Monte, who runs a farm in Perth, has already been forced to destroy 100,000 market-ready snail heads this week due to a labor shortage.

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The coronavirus pandemic means Australia will need at least 70,000 foreign backpackers during harvest season to work on regional farms (stock image)

The coronavirus pandemic means Australia will need at least 70,000 foreign backpackers during harvest season to work on regional farms (stock image)

His farm usually has about 100 pickers helping them, but in the past two months, that’s down to 60.

Fruits and vegetables are likely to increase in price:

Mango

Lettuce

Cauliflower

Broccoli

“Come by Christmas time, there will be no fruits and vegetables on the shelves,” he said 7 news.

He said all growers had to destroy crops because they struggled to keep up with demand.

‘It’s every grower partner, everyone does the same.’

National Farmers Federation President Tony Mahar has warned that food prices are skyrocketing due to labor shortages.

“The supply of produce could decrease because it simply cannot be picked in time,” Mahar said. The Australian.

‘Production costs will rise because of the slowdown and the demand for labor. People may have to be paid more and it may cost more to finish the crop. ‘

Farmers predict they will struggle to fill the estimated 40,000 harvest positions with fewer than 8,000 seasonal workers in the country and hardly any backpackers arrive since March.

Western Australia’s shadow minister of agriculture, Steve Thomas, has urged the state government to relax border restrictions to allow in foreign farm workers.

A farmer checks his wheat crop as it grows in a pasture on his estate near Gunnedah, New South Wales, on August 25, 2020

A farmer checks his wheat crop as it grows in a pasture on his estate near Gunnedah, New South Wales, on August 25, 2020

A farmer checks his wheat crop as it grows in a pasture on his estate near Gunnedah, New South Wales, on August 25, 2020

A farmer on a tractor sprays his crop in northwestern New South Wales on May 5, 2020 in Dungowan, Australia. Rain across the region has alleviated the conditions of the current drought, which began in 2017

A farmer on a tractor sprays his crop in northwestern New South Wales on May 5, 2020 in Dungowan, Australia. Rain across the region has alleviated the conditions of the current drought, which began in 2017

A farmer on a tractor sprays his crop in northwestern New South Wales on May 5, 2020 in Dungowan, Australia. Rain across the region has alleviated the conditions of the current drought, which began in 2017

“We will have to see these additional workers working by October.”

Despite the grim prediction, Western Australian Prime Minister Mark McGowan has urged farmers to search for workers within the state, ABC reported.

“Our priority is to employ WA workers,” he said.

“In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is time for industry to rethink the way it hires workers and look to the local population to fulfill these roles.”

A parliamentary inquiry designed to supplement the loose workforce has suggested that school-leavers work as fruit pickers in exchange for a tuition discount.

The proposed ‘Australia Needs You’ campaign would also allow unemployed people to earn money by working on farms without losing job seeker’s allowance, and one-time payments would be made to cover travel and subsistence expenses.

Research chair Julian Leeser, Liberal MP from New South Wales, released an interim parliamentary report on Tuesday outlining the ambitious recommendations, which are supported by both sides of parliament.

A farmer walks towards a tractor while sowing wheat in a field on a farm near Gunnedah, New South Wales, Australia

A farmer walks towards a tractor while sowing wheat in a field on a farm near Gunnedah, New South Wales, Australia

A farmer walks towards a tractor while sowing wheat in a field on a farm near Gunnedah, New South Wales, Australia

A parliamentary inquiry has proposed 'Australia Needs You', a campaign that would give school-leavers discounts on tuition fees for doing farm work (stock image)

A parliamentary inquiry has proposed 'Australia Needs You', a campaign that would give school-leavers discounts on tuition fees for doing farm work (stock image)

A parliamentary inquiry has proposed ‘Australia Needs You’, a campaign that would give school-leavers discounts on tuition fees for doing farm work (stock image)

When the coronavirus pandemic hit in March, labor companies and farmers reported an increase in the number of Australians contacting them for work, but that dropped once the government announced payments for Jobkeeper and JobSeeker.

Global travel restrictions due to COVID-19 also meant that school leavers were unable to take their usual overseas vacations.

Mr Leeser said that if the 40,000 young Australians taking a gap year in the UK, US and Canada were to work on farms instead, it would fill the labor shortage.

“Young Australians like adventure, they want to meet other Australians,” he said.

“They want to make some money at a time when many of the jobs they would otherwise do in hospitality and retail aren’t there.”

The interim report recommends the government to discount the university HECS rate, but leaves the final figures to the treasurer and the Minister of Education.

Unemployed Australians would also be paid for farm work and would be allowed to keep their job seeker benefits under the plan.

During the consultation, Mr Leeser heard concerns that the travel costs would be too high, so the committee also proposed a travel and accommodation allowance.

Mr. Leeser warned that action must be taken to support farmers who have the prospect of not being able to harvest fruit from their trees.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN RECOMMENDATIONS FOR A ‘GAP YEAR HOME’?

The Committee recommends the ‘Have a Gap Year at Home Campaign’ to attract young Australians, particularly the current group of Year 12s and university graduates, to undertake regional work

For the next 12 months, workers should still receive job seeker’s benefit while doing low-paid agricultural and horticultural work

A one-time payment to support the travel and accommodation costs incurred

Changes to the Working Holiday Maker visa for the next 12 months to allow for extensions in exchange for regional work

Provide an incentive for international students who have completed their studies to stay longer in exchange for work in peri-urban, regional, rural and remote parts of Australia

The government has recommended a review within 12 months

.