Home Australia Pricey strawberries expected to hit supermarkets as fruit picker numbers dwindle

Pricey strawberries expected to hit supermarkets as fruit picker numbers dwindle

Pricey strawberries expected to hit supermarkets as fruit picker numbers dwindle

Farmers are slashing the dimensions of strawberry plant life or not planting the least bit out of peril fruit will rot on the bottom amid a picker scarcity that’s expected to jack up costs on the supermarket.

Key aspects:

  • About 7,000 folks are wanted to harvest Queensland’s strawberry slit this winter
  • COVID-19 chase restrictions be pleased resulted in a primary shortfall of on hand labour
  • Farmers are calling on college students to bear into story working while finding out on-line

Whisk restrictions due to COVID-19 be pleased meant a massive shortfall in farm labour, most frequently made up of working holidaymakers or backpackers.

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They bear 80 per cent of fruit in Australia, Queensland Strawberry Growers Association president Adrian Schulz acknowledged.

In the Moreton Bay, Sunshine Coast and Bundaberg areas on my own, 7,000 folks may well per chance per chance be wanted to harvest the strawberry slit this winter, he acknowledged.

“There are a lot of farmers who’re very unnerved,” he acknowledged.

“I’ve already reduced the selection of plant life we’re going to grow by 30 to 35 per cent.

“They [strawberries] may well per chance per chance be pricey as a consequence of if we invent not earn the parents to bear them, the provision is going to be an excellent deal reduced.”

Woman working on a strawberry farm

Backpackers and holidaymakers are not around to bear strawberries on Queensland farms.(

Equipped: LuvaBerry


Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud acknowledged the selection of working travellers in Australia had gotten smaller from 160,000 to about 40,000 since COVID-19 emerged last year.

“Pleasing across this country there has been an absence,” he acknowledged.

“We’re attempting to belief for this season but we’re additionally attempting to belief a fashion for subsequent year and beyond.”

College students equipped flexibility to trap them in

College students and college leavers are being centered by growers in a job power to make certain this year’s slit is picked and not wasted.

Mr Schulz acknowledged college students, critically those who may well per chance also peek on-line, may well per chance also fair be pleased the flexibility to bear on brief-term, seasonal work.

“We benefit those [people] to earn out and earn a job on a strawberry farm and to boot they may be able to peek on-line,” he acknowledged.

“If a pupil has to rush in and bear a face-to-face class at some point soon per week, that’s one thing we are able to work around.”

Close up of bright red, glossy strawberries

Queensland’s strawberry farmers are reducing plant life by up to 30 per cent to take care of the reduced labour market.(

Equipped: LuvaBerry


There’s additionally different for those on international pupil visas, with working hour restrictions temporarily relaxed for those taking a job in agriculture.

In accordance to the Residence Affairs online page, the division and Australian Border Force “will bear a flexible attain” but fully for certain industries.

Chilean pupil Natalie Ayala made up our minds to shield when Australia closed its borders.

“In South The United States the topic is worse.”

Ms Ayala spent just a few weeks working on Mr Schulz’s farm.

“For me it is a brand novel skills [and] in case you chase the country, you’ll have to originate your self up to novel issues,” she acknowledged.

Influx of Pacific labour power stifled by ‘bureaucracy’

Queensland’s strawberry growers are calling for pressing motion to earn to the bottom of the bottleneck that has stopped thousands of Pacific Island workers from coming to Australia to work on farms.

Mr Schulz acknowledged quarantine restrictions and caps on international arrivals were slowing the trudge of arrivals.

Dog stands among rows of strawberry plants

Farmers train tell and federal authorities bureaucracy is causing delays in getting farm workers.(

Equipped: LuvaBerry


“Nonetheless we [would be] bringing folks in from countries that bear not be pleased COVID.”

Mr Littleproud acknowledged 25,000 folks from across the Pacific were ready to attain to Australia, then one more time tell governments were impeding their arrivals.

“We are able to tag the visas but fully after tell governments give the public health seal of approval,” he acknowledged.

View over strawberry field towards packing shed

On-farm quarantine instances are “exhausting”, Mr Schulz says.(

Equipped: LuvaBerry


Mr Schulz would treasure to peek the federal and tell governments work together and referred to as the quarantine instances “exhausting”.

“They’ve allowed six internet sites fully in Queensland for on-farm quarantine [with] on the very least 30 folks and a maximum of 80 in any particular facility,” he acknowledged.

“That is large for the enormous farms but not factual for the limited and medium farms.”

Mr Schulz acknowledged while in quarantine, folks should work but be separated from others with totally different instances in space.

“You be pleased to embed your bear supervisors with these folks for that 14-day duration and you’ll have to earn the Queensland police on arena,” he acknowledged.

“It is totally exhausting for limited to medium farms to put together that form of bureaucracy.”

Queensland Agriculture Minister Observe Furner acknowledged the authorities had brought extra than 930 workers onto the tell’s farms under the federal authorities’s Pacific Labour Plot and Seasonal Worker Program, with a complete bunch extra due very soon.

“That is a federal authorities program, and processing times for workers can vary vastly thanks to factors affecting processing in their home countries,” he acknowledged.

“The tell authorities understands the urgency of getting extra workers on farms.”

Pricey strawberries expected to hit supermarkets as fruit picker numbers dwindle