As Covid travel restrictions and the subsequent labor shortages have had a heavy impact on the operations of Australia’s fruit and vegetable growers, some of these warn claim will not plant crops for a year. Farm laborers and fruit pickers usually made up from overseas backpackers have declined this year with an estimated 40,000 to be in Australia compared to last year’s figure of 140,000.
Many Queensland farmers were affected by the worker shortage, with some considering not planting crops in 2021. Experts believe the move will lead to supermarkets increasing their prices and customers paying up to $50 per kilo for tomatoes instead of the current average price of $5 a kilo.
According to a recent report by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, shoppers should expect to pay up to 30 per cent more for produce as farmers struggle to find workers amid the pandemic. Prices of summer produce such as mangoes, peaches and vegetables are expected to increase by between 7 and 29 per cent.
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