AUSVEG has joined other food supply chain associations, as members of the Food Supply Chain Alliance, to highlight the critical shortage of labour across the food supply chain, totaling over 170k workers, which will ultimately impact food availability and prices.

Australia’s $15 billion horticulture industry is currently experiencing a labour shortage of approximately 10,000 individual workers, which equates to many more roles as workers follow the harvest trail for seasonal work. The demand for workers increases significantly from winter to summer as production ramps up leading into the summer harvest period, putting further strain on growers.

The economic cost for fruit and vegetable growers of the ongoing labour shortage is not just the opportunity cost for the lost production that could be planted and harvested, but also the longer-term impact for fruit and vegetable growers who must reduce investment in areas that would increase their production efficiency and profitability for future seasons.

Tackling the price of food and issues with food availability can be achieved by finding viable, practical solutions to the chronic labour shortages in the food supply chain.

There is a significant backlog of visa applications that must be processed as a priority to ensure that those who are willing and wanting to come into Australia to work can do so.

Consideration must also be given to alternative labour solutions to help those who want to work to do so, including simplifying Temporary Visa conditions to allow temporary visa holders to work longer hours, extend their visa and apply for permanent residency.

To learn more about the impacts of these labour shortages across the supply chain, read Charlie Peel’s article in The Australian