The deterioration of the seasonal workforce is having terrible impacts on the Australian horticultural industry, and worse is yet to come. Last week, the National Lost Crop Register surpassed $45 million in losses at farmgate value. The most concerning factor is the register has only been open since December last year.
In the last eight weeks there have only been 65 separate crop losses reported, with more than 85,000 agricultural businesses across Australia. Imported food only accounts for 15 per cent of Australia's daily food supply, meaning the tightening of supply will likely be felt across major retailers, with supermarket prices tipped to increase.
Richard Shannon is manager of policy and advocacy at Growcom, a peak industry body who represent the National Farmers Federation Horticultural council, he said the worst is yet to come.
"To date, Queensland has recorded losses of up to $33 million, New South Wales $8 million, and Western Australia $2 million," he told abc.net.au. "We expect the numbers to be far greater. I know personally there are larger growers that have not made reports to the register."
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