Industry experts fear some of this year's Northern Territory mango harvest may never make it to the supermarket, as growers are still facing widespread worker shortages. The NT government is now looking overseas for help picking fruit across the Top End of the territory, the nation's largest mango producer.
But with the annual fruit-picking season already in its early stages, industry groups have warned the sector is still short of about 1,000 workers. Paul Burke from NT Farmers: "We've got jobs currently advertised for 317 positions, for which we got 13 applicants last week. It's everything from pickers, packers, forklift drivers; we're really critically short of truck drivers at the moment. It'll mean longer hours and it means some fruit may not get picked — and that's a travesty."
Burke said an estimated 10 to 20 per cent of last year's yield went unpicked.
The government says this year's harvest is likely to be even bigger, outdoing last year's trade by 300,000 to produce an anticipated 2.7 million trays in the Darwin region alone.