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Australia Fruit farmers launch appeal for help picking their crop this summer

09:51  07 january  2021
09:51  07 january  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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Launched in Victoria for those willing to take up fruit picking job for six weeks. Australia's seasonal workforce has been decimated by the ban on international travel - with a recent Ernst and Young report warning the horticulture industry faces a shortage of 26,000 workers over the summer .

Farmers face a challenge to recruit skilled staff they need to pick fruit and vegetables as East Efforts to recruit British fruit and veg pickers have been dealt a blow as it emerged only 112 people The drop-out rate has alarmed farmers as they prepare for the summer picking season to start in

a group of people riding on the back of a woman: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

Jobless Australians have been offered thousands of dollars to fill fruit picking jobs following the exodus of foreign backpackers due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Victorian government has launched a scheme offering Australian job seekers $6,000 in relocation expenses if they are willing to take up short-term positions in the state's agricultural sector.

When combined with pay from their employer, pickers could earn $12,000 for just six weeks of work.

Australia's seasonal workforce has been decimated by the ban on international travel - with a recent Ernst and Young report warning the horticulture industry faces a shortage of 26,000 workers over the summer.

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British farmers recently warned that crops could be left to rot in the field because of a shortage of "In the meantime, I would encourage anyone who is interested in helping pick for Britain this summer to contact A national campaign is appealing to students and those who have lost their jobs in bars

British Summer Fruits fears produce will rot in fields and orchards. The industry will be mounting a large-scale Farmers say the fall-out of the coronavirus chaos means they desperately need an army of Land In theory, thousands of people in the hospitality industry who are likely to lose their jobs or

But industry leaders say no experience is needed for basic roles like picking, packing, thinning and pruning.

a group of people looking at a fruit stand: The Victorian government has launched a relocation scheme offering Australian job seekers $6,000 if they are willing to take up short-term positions in the state's agricultural sector Pictured: Workers pack punnets of strawberries at the Ashbern strawberry farm on the Sunshine Coast © Provided by Daily Mail The Victorian government has launched a relocation scheme offering Australian job seekers $6,000 if they are willing to take up short-term positions in the state's agricultural sector Pictured: Workers pack punnets of strawberries at the Ashbern strawberry farm on the Sunshine Coast

International workers can apply for up to $2,000 as part of the Government Relocation Assistance program.

The latest award rates for the horticultural industry mean workers earn a fixed minimum age of $24.80 an hour - and even more if they are paid by the amount of fruit they pick.

If paid by the bin workers can earn as much as $200 a day, which would work out at $6,000 over the course of six weeks.

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Engineers at the University of Cambridge have developed a vegetable- picking robot to complete the challenging task of harvesting lettuces. Britain today is completely dependent on foreign workers to pick fruit and veg. Engineers from Cambridge developed a prototype vegetable- picking robot.

Environment secretary encourages furloughed workers to join Pick for Britain scheme. But as he unveiled a new “ Pick for Britain” website to match farms needing seasonal staff with potential UK workers, the site appeared to have crashed.

Industry experts fear large swathes of crops could go to waste if they cannot get enough workers to fill fruit picking positions.

'Our usual workers that are essential in ensuring our seasonal fruit crops are available in supermarkets and markets are gone,' Fruit Growers Victoria services manager Michael Crisera told news.com.au.

'The Victorian fruit industry is at risk and the repercussions of not having enough workers will not only impact the farmers themselves but the consumer.'

a man and a woman sitting on a bench: Australia's seasonal workforce has been decimated by the ban on international travel. Pictured is a backpacker working in the Australian fruit picking industry © Provided by Daily Mail Australia's seasonal workforce has been decimated by the ban on international travel. Pictured is a backpacker working in the Australian fruit picking industry

'The consequences will be significant wastage, lack of income for the growers and rising prices for customers.'

Last month, a plane load of 162 fruit pickers from Tonga touched down in Tasmania to pick berries.

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Citizens of Tonga can get nine month working visas in Australia despite international borders being closed in March to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Farms across the country have been scrambling to fill seasonal jobs to harvest and pack produce for supermarkets.

a man riding on the back of a truck: Workers can earn as much as $200 a day in the horticultural industry if paid by the amount of crop they pick © Provided by Daily Mail Workers can earn as much as $200 a day in the horticultural industry if paid by the amount of crop they pick

The federal government also recently offered Australian locals up to $6,000 in cash if they relocate to regional areas for farm work.

The cash back is provided on money spent to take on the work - such as plane tickets, accommodation, work clothes, meals, and car hire.

More information on the government's relocation assistance for short-term agricultural work can be found on the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website.

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