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"The toughest competition we face now is not for customers, it's for staff”

NZ Horticulture is facing unprecedented labor shortages. Growers' ability to attract staff, train, and retain them is the new competitive advantage. That means growers need managers with the right soft skills to keep people engaged and productive. The Breakthrough has created a guide to help people…

Video: Kompano in its natural habitat

Deleafing robot Kompano was officially launched last month during the GreenTech 2021. For those unable to visit the show or those curious to see the Kompano in action, here is a new video showing the robot in the greenhouse.  After thorough research and development, Kompano is now completely ready for use in…

US Blocks imports from 2 Mexican greenhouses

Effective Oct. 21, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at all U.S. ports of entry will detain fresh tomatoes produced by the tomato farm Agropecuarios Tom S.A.…

"Small adjustments to Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme would bring huge benefits to UK horticulture"

The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) has called for an extension to the Seasonal Workers Pilot Scheme (SWP) to include plant and tree growers to support the industry in…

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US labor shortage no longer a cut and dry problem

Labor shortages throughout the horticultural industry have been a continual problem to contend with over the last several years, and the global pandemic has exacerbated the issue not only in the field of horticulture but many others as well. There has been much speculation as to the root cause of the…

More evidence of worker exploitation on Australian farms

Yesterday, the Senate's job security committee heard a lot of shocking evidence of worker exploitation on Australian farms. Take 58-year-old Xueliang Wang from China worked…

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Farming Union slams Brexit & Covid for 'record' 34% fruit and vegetable picker shortage

The president of the National Farmers' Union, Minette Batters, claimed chaotic shortages of workers are leading to the carnage in Britain's food distribution networks as producers are thought to have binned an estimated "£16 billion" worth of food already in Britain. Food is sitting unpicked on British…

Truck drivers from India interested in UK short-term visas

Indian truck drivers are among the leading category of workers showing interest in new temporary work visas introduced by the UK to address supply shortages. Demand for the…

Brexit minister Lord Frost:

‘British renaissance has begun’ despite shortages troubling UK

Brexit minister Lord Frost has declared that the ‘British Renaissance has begun’ as the UK struggles with staffing issues linked to the departure from the European Union. At…

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UK government will not issue additional visas for agri sector

The UK government will not introduce any new visa schemes for agriculture and food businesses that are facing acute staff shortages, nor will it take additional action to…

Labor troubles lead to price rises and waste in the UK

UK tomatoes usually arrive on the nation’s supermarket shelves in 24 hours. However, this year there are neither enough seasonal workers to staff the production line or enough…

First workers under new scheme arrive from Vanuatu in New Zealand

The first flight bringing in 154 fruit pickers and other agricultural workers from Vanuatu has arrived at Christchurch Airport today. They are part of a new program which lets…

Australian Agriculture Worker Visa takes a step closer to delivering for farmers after being signed into law

The Australian Agriculture Worker Visa (Ag Visa) is a step closer to fruition, after the Federal Government amended the Migration Regulations, enabling it to be operationalized with a supporting program administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Minister for Agriculture and…

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CAN: Strawberry greenhouse appologizes for light pollution

On Sept. 29 many in Metro Vancouver took to social media to share photos of the colorful phenomenon. Many correctly pointed out the light likely came from a greenhouse, but why hadn’t it been seen before then? It turns out the purple glow came from the Solstice Greenhouse in Delta, where agronomists and growers…

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More laborers for Australian growers with new visa

AUSVEG, the peak industry body for vegetable and potato growers, has welcomed the signing of legislation by the Governor General for the Australian Agriculture Visa, which is a key piece to solving the horticulture industry’s labor puzzle for the future. As outlined in the regulations that were…

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NZ: Seasonal worker movement from the Pacific confirmed

The Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has confirmed that quarantine free travel for Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme workers from some Pacific countries will start on 4 October 2021.  This good news comes after two previous announcements: one from the Prime Minister and another from the Minister of…

'Huge additional burden' on UK's tomato, cucumber and pepper growers, says FPC's Nigel Jenney

The cost of growing young British tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers is surging, in the latest example of how the energy crunch is roiling the country's food sector. The vegetables aren't suited to grow in the British climate but can flourish in heated greenhouses. While the current season for growing…

"It is of the utmost importance that robots are economically feasible"

Ridder adds robotics to its portfolio with MetoMotion investment

“Our goal is the autonomous greenhouse. Over the last couple of years, we’ve built a portfolio consisting of greenhouse technology products contributing to this goal; robots too can be a big part of this development,” says Joep van den Bosch, CIO with Ridder. Today, they reveal that since 2019 they have…

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US (NY): State lawmakers discuss labor shortage during downstate agricultural tour

Dozens of state lawmakers wrapped up a two-day farm tour Thursday ready to advocate for additional funding in next year’s budget to support state agriculture and pursue legislation to aid agricultural processors. The third annual farm tour, spearheaded by Assemblyman Chris Tague’s office, featured stops…

Celebrating migrant workers in Leamington, Canada

On Sunday, September 12, the KAIROS Canada Migrant Justice team traveled to Leamington, Ontario, to celebrate Grito de Dolores or Mexico’s Independence Day. Hosted by the Migrant Worker Community Program, the event was an opportunity for migrant workers from the farms around Leamington to enjoy the…

Even workers from the Caribbean, Kenya and Nepal helped to pick fruit in Norfolk

Fruit pickers from as far away as Barbados were flown in to save Norfolk's strawberry harvest. This year, the fruit industry faced a jobs crisis due to a shortage of its usual…

Growing Queensland’s online agri-food sales capability

The Palaszczuk Government is helping Ipswich and Toowoomba business to upskill producers and suppliers in e-commerce and support agriculture jobs. Member for Ipswich Jennifer…

More absenteeism and 55+ year olds, fewer young people in greenhouse horticulture

The proportion of workers aged 55 and over continues to increase, also in greenhouse horticulture. This has been revealed by the fact sheets on safe, healthy, and vital work in the agricultural and green sectors that Stigas has updated. In contrast to the increase in the number of people aged 55 and over…

Thanet Earth

UK: Thanet Earth had to trash £320k of food produce due to lack of workers

A lack of pickers and drivers has led to Birchington-based Thanet Earth ‘trashing’ £320,000 worth of produce in just three weeks, North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale told Parliament yesterday. Thanet Earth generated its first crop of cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers in 2009 and formed a partnership with…

To be presented at Greentech:

Market introduction for tomato leaf-cutting robot Kompano

Remember Kompano, the autonomous, fully automated leaf-cutting robot for tomato crops introduced by Priva a couple of years ago? Well, it's ready for it's market introduction. Priva will introduce Kompano on September the 28th during the Greentech. "The Kompano is the first robot on the market that can…

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Labor shortage and covid threaten Australia's "record-size" harvest

Australia’s agricultural sector is set for a record $73bn year but labor shortages and border restrictions are threatening farmers’ ability to deliver on the promise of a bumper harvest. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resources Economics and Sciences released its agricultural overview report…

Ai-Ping Hu

GTRI

The future of peach harvesting

The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) has developed an intelligent robot that is designed to handle the human-based tasks of thinning and pruning peach trees, which could result in significant cost savings for peach farms in Georgia.    "Most folks are familiar with the harvesting of fruit and picking it up at the market," said Ai-Ping Hu,…

"Britain's multinational army of fruit-pickers"

16,000 workers from 37 countries flew in for UK’s 2021 season

Due to a shortage of British and eastern European workers, the number of fruit pickers coming into the UK from abroad has more than doubled this year. More than 16,000…

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Streamlined pacific Australia labor mobility to address industry needs

The Australian Fresh Produce Alliance (AFPA) welcomes the Morrison Government’s announcement of the first stage of reforms to Australia’s labor mobility programs – the Pacific Labour Scheme (PLS) and the Seasonal Worker Program (SWP). The reforms announced support greater alignment between the PLS and…

Photo by WANG Zhao / AFP

Can "cobots" transform the agriculture industry?

Today, living in the era of robotic technologies and automation fosters a heightening interest in agri-tech. Cobots remain the fastest-growing segment of industrial automation, projected to grow at a CAGR of 43.4% from 2021 to 2027. However, with the constant rise of cobot usage, existing government…

Philippines: food company adopts greenhouse to create jobs for displaced workers

Century Pacific Food group has become the first company to embrace the government’s adopt-a-farm program that aims to build agricultural farming villages and create jobs for seasonally displaced workers. Century Pacific Food (CNPF) signed an agreement with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to…

Photo by Glenn Lowson / National Post

CAN: The agricultural industry is desperate for workers of all sorts

There’s a global shortage of agricultural workers, from manual labor roles to science and engineering-focused agricultural tech work, and Canada is no different. Everything from agronomists, or experts in soil management and crop production, to veterinarians are needed in Canada and it’s a long-standing…

Minister Parker states it is working through the changes

NZ government looks at curbing reliance on migrant workers

The government of New Zealand is looking at curbing the nation’s reliance on migrant workers as part of post-Covid immigration service changes. The changes include looking at…

UK: Clock House Farm hosted farming roundtable with Helen Grant MP

Clock House Farm, the Kent-based leading berry, top and stone fruit grower recently hosted a farming roundtable, at the company’s Coxheath headquarters, attended by Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone and The Weald and Ben Gibbons, NFU Kent’s South East Regional Advisor. The initiative provided an opportunity…

Ridder introduces CoRanger

Indoor positioning system pinpoints positions of plants, people and objects in the greenhouse

A newly introduced indoor positioning solution makes processes in the greenhouse transparent and allows them to take place more efficiently and accurately. CoRanger, introduced by Ridder, is a patented system that can pinpoint the positions of plants, people, and objects in the greenhouse to within 10cm.…

Effects of UK labour shortage:

Growers would rather give fruit and vegetables away for free than see it wasted

Farmers hit by a shortage of seasonal workers have resorted to giving produce away for free. Richard Morritt is a York-based raspberry grower who invited in the public after…

Canadian agri sector desperate for workers as well

Canada is in need of everything from agronomists, or experts in soil management and crop production, to veterinarians. Pre-COVID-19 studies showed that primary agriculture…

USDA invests $700 million in grants to provide relief to farm and food workers impacted by COVID-19

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that $700 million in competitive grant funding will be available through the new Farm and Food Workers Relief (FFWR) grant…

Farmworkers in the US more likely to die from extreme heat

Many people will not know that in the US, extreme heat kills more people each year than floods, hurricanes and tornadoes. An average of 702 heat-related deaths takes place…

AUS: Boosting agricultural innovation with mobile coverage

Farmers and residents in one of Victoria’s most productive horticultural regions will soon have better mobile coverage, allowing them to use new technology to improve their…

Lorry driver strike threat increases supply chain problems

There has been the threat of a strike by lorry drivers at two UK firms supplying the construction industry as well as convenience stores. This threat has raised the prospect…

Agricultural sector has employment gains of 69,000

South Africa sees number of unemployed increase by 584,000 to 7.8 million

According to the latest Statistics SA Quarterly Labour Force Survey, the number of employed persons dropped by 54,000 in the second quarter of 2021, ending up at 14,9 million.…

Australia: Trucker strike could affect food supplies

Food and fuel supplies could be affected this coming weekend as thousands of truck drivers intend to strike over pay and conditions at a major employer, the transport union…

Food prices to climb as labour shortage crushes food industry

'Entire world is short-staffed'

Whether it's fruit pickers, slaughterhouse workers, truckers, warehouse operators, chefs or waiters, the global food ecosystem is buckling due to a shortage of staff Across the world, a dearth of…

British heavy goods driver says 40% pay rise shows industry's desperation

A survey by the Road Haulage Association (RHA) estimates there is a shortage of about 100,000 drivers. It is affecting all kinds of deliveries. An HGV driver says his 40% pay…

Tesco delivery drivers threaten strike action over pay dispute

Up to 1,500 convenience stores across London and the south east could face delivery shortages if strikes against Tesco over pay disparities between HGV driver bonuses go ahead. Unite the Union said bosses from the supermarket's wholesale division, Booker, were "missing in action" after failing to engage…

Export volumes for table grapes, apples, lemons, pears up

Agri employment probably stable, not increasing in South Africa

The South African Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy (BFAP) has cautioned that the apparent increase in the number of agricultural jobs during the second quarter of this…

Logistics UK and British Retail Consortium

UK business groups demand action on driver shortage crisis

Against the backdrop of the ongoing shortage of HGV drivers, two of the UK’s biggest business groups, Logistics UK and British Retail Consortium (BRC),  on 22 August 2021 wrote…

Christmas at risk as well, says Iceland boss

Co-op chief says current food shortages are worst he’s ever seen

Staffing problems caused by Covid and Brexit are causing major problems in the UK food industry, as many retailers are having trouble getting products to stores. According to…

“red flag” to increase transparency of food systems

Study assesses risk that fruits, vegetables sold in U.S. are products of forced labor

A new study in Nature Food calls attention to the need for better systems to track forced labor in food supply chains. The study — a methodological advance —reports on the…

Students compensate for shortage of migrant workers at Westland growers

Westland employment agencies and nurseries have had great difficulty in finding enough labour migrants of good quality. This is what Martine van der Meer of CombiVliet, grower…

AU: Big workforce provider set to tackle harvest labor shortage

One of Australia's largest operations staff providers is joining the fight to help the Australian grains industry find sufficient skilled harvest labor to get this year's forecast bumper crop harvested. Programmed is a provider of operations and maintenance services across Australia and New Zealand. Its…

Beacon Communications Photos

US (RI): Volunteers help harvest 20,000 pounds of produce at Westbay Farm

Steve Stycos and his fellow farm hands work at Westbay Farm, located on 1351 Centerville Road in Warwick. Stycos, a former member of the Cranston City Council, has been working there 12 years, and some of his dedicated volunteers have stuck around for upwards of 11 years. One of Westbay Farm’s longest…

Photo by Lauren Irwin/News21

"System for US farmworkers is hard to break free from"

As the sun beats down on a family farm in McFarland, California, immigrant workers duck under a leafy canopy of cotton candy grapes for a moment of relief. It’s 5:56 a.m., and temperatures are quickly rising. Draped in cotton from fingers to toes, with only their eyes exposed to the sun, the workers…

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$1M automation system speeds up Elgin County tomato farm

A new tomato processing system at an Elgin County farm is helping one Southwestern Ontario grower solve the industry’s longtime problem of finding enough field workers. DeBackere Farms Inc., which produces field and Roma tomatoes on five hectares southeast of St. Thomas, has invested $1 million in…

New Mexico Dem governor using up to $5M in coronavirus relief to boost farm workers’ pay

The move by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham follows criticism from state Republicans that enhanced unemployment benefits were causing a labor shortage on the state's farms.New…

Australian Fresh Produce Alliance

"Appropriate piece rates are critical to incentivising a motivated harvest workforce"

The Australian Fresh Produce Alliance (AFPA) supports the appropriate application of piece rates to deliver a fair and effective safety net for the remuneration of workers who…

CAN: Celebrating community success with the greenhouse worker vaccination education

The Workplace Wellness for Agri-Food Workers Task force, a collaboration of 16 community partners, are highlighting the success of COVID-19 education and vaccination of…

Could reforms around truck drivers alleviate the shipping crisis?

Growers and shippers are more than open to new ways of getting trucks--and more particularly, truck drivers--on the road following months of skyrocketing transportation rates and limited access to both trucks and drivers. Earlier this month, the American Journal of Transportation reported that the…

UK vegetable producer says labor shortage leads to food wastage

One of the UK’s biggest vegetable producers says it is losing thousands of pounds a week, having to throw away food due to a labor shortage. It concerns Alfred G Pearce, based…

Photo by United Farm Workers

‘Heat is a killer’: Hundreds of thousands of farmworkers are left vulnerable

A sweltering heatwave blanketed Los Angeles and much of the West in recent weeks. When many of us can seek refuge indoors, often in the comfort of air conditioning, those who work outside must continue pushing through the high temperatures.  “We need to recognize heat is a killer and the number one health…

Timor-Leste and nine Pacific countries can fill jobs in agriculture

Timor-Leste workers could be the answer to Australia's farm labour shortageSince the COVID crisis began, Australia has struggled to find enough foreign workers to help harvest…

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"Pacific Islands workers key to address immediate labor shortage"

Increasing the number of workers from the Pacific Islands and increasing Australia’s quarantine capacity are critical in ensuring Australia’s vegetable and potato growers have access to the workers they need to harvest their produce. The call from AUSVEG, the peak industry body for the Australian…

Marketplace.org

"Pandemic highlights poor conditions for some of Canada’s farmworkers"

Leamington, Ontario, is known as the tomato capital of Canada. Dotted with greenhouses that grow everything from cucumbers to cannabis plants, Leamington is also home to a concentration of farmworkers in Canada on temporary agricultural visas. Herby, originally from the Caribbean island of St. Lucia,…

Strawberry growers happy with Queensland worker surge at start of harvest

Queensland Strawberries $100,000 labor lottery initiative has seen more than 4,100 people sign up to work on farms since launching in April. The program is the industry's…

AU: Ensuring high standards key to success of seasonal agricultural worker visa

The Australian Fresh Produce Alliance (AFPA) are calling on the government to implement a trial of the Seasonal Agriculture Worker visa by the end of this year, with a focus…

CAN: New toolkit is "one-stop shop” to prevent COVID-19 outbreak

Get access to agriculture-specific resources, find out how to prevent a COVID outbreak on your farm and how your workers can get tested. This online toolkit aims to be a…


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