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More seasonal workers needed for Aussie harvests

Michael is joined by Michael Rogers, Chief executive of the Australian Fresh Produce Alliance, regarding the impact of COVID-19 on seasonal labour together with stalled airfreight which poses a rising threat to the nation’s spring and summer harvests forcing growers to seek measures to stop crops rotting.

“We have some real practical challenges about moving people around,” says Mr Rogers. “Health remains a priority but also we need to make sure we can put fruit and vegetables on shelves … If we don’t get the ­people, we won’t have the produce.”

Growers urge greater effort to retain backpackers still in Australia and to facilitate new arrivals, and also cash incentives for city-based jobless Australians to travel to ­regions for harvesting work.

Those sending fresh fruit to Asia, meanwhile, are concerned that not enough passenger jets are flying to accommodate sufficient volume of freight in cargo holds for their summer fruit exports.

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