The global coronavirus pandemic is starting to impact the fruit and vegetable industry in Australia, with fears that there will be a 25 per cent hike in the price of fresh veggies over the summer.
This is due to the strict travel restrictions that cut off access to seasonal harvest crews, with NSW being short 90,000 workers.
“We usually use backpackers. And we have not had one person,” Orange farmer Guy Gaeta told 7NEWS.
Fruit and vegetable prices are set to soar by up to 25 per cent across Australia this summer due to a COVID-induced labour shortage.
— Sunrise (@sunriseon7) December 7, 2020
Gaeta has been a cherry farmer for 35 years and has been forced to call in contractors this year, which costs producers more and passes on the price increase to customers.
“We’ve exhausted virtually all of the domestic workforce that actually want to work on a farm and now we’re desperately trying to get people in from overseas,” NSW Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall said.
CEO of NSW farmers Pete Arkle said the reality is that they won’t have enough people to pick this season’s crop.
“It’s tragic to see crops wilting on the vines or rotting on trees,” he said.
This article originally appeared on Over60.