National Lost Crop Register launched

Horticulture's National Lost Crop Register launched

Horticulture
The National Lost Crop Register has been launched with $22 million in losses already reported.

The National Lost Crop Register has been launched with $22 million in losses already reported.

Aa

The National Lost Crop Register has been launched with $22 million in losses already reported.

Aa

A NATIONAL Lost Crop Register enabling horticulture growers around the country to anonymously record crops that have gone to waste because of a lack of seasonal labour.

The National Farmers' Federation Horticulture Council says more than 30 growers have already reported crop losses, worth more than $22 million at the farm gate.

Queensland's peak horticulture body Growcom has led the design and development of the register in collaboration with industry colleagues.

NFF chief executive officer Tony Mahar said crop losses would be tracked and reported as the slow moving crisis of seasonal worker shortages unfolded.

"The evidence will be used to inform decision-making and improve the ability of industry to collectively advocate for greater government intervention where necessary," Mr Mahar said.

"There is a real risk the true extent and impact of the labour shortage will be lost. We intend on publishing a running tab as crop losses mount towards Christmas and beyond.

"Reports of lost crops have already made the media, and we are hearing of plenty more examples confidentially."

Reports of lost crops have already made the media, and we are hearing of plenty more examples confidentially. - Tony Mahar, National Farmers Federation

Mr Mahar said unlike a drought, poor prices or a new disease, the lack of labour available to harvest our crops won't discriminate.

"It will be felt across the country, in every commodity," he said.

"Expert independent analysis has confirmed we now have a labour shortage and suggests that without the return of international travel to previous levels our situation is likely to deteriorate through next year.

"Our political leaders and governments need to understand what's happening on the ground so they can respond with better solutions. And there is an important opportunity here as well to educate the public on what's required in terms of human labour to ensure their grocery aisles are full of fantastic fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts."

Mr Mahar said the register would remain open as long as the labour shortage played out.

"We are also asking growers where they are willing to come forward and speak publicly about their losses," Mr Mahar said.

"Nobody conveys better the issues of our industry than growers themselves. The register gives growers an opportunity to put their hand up for this important task."

Southern Queensland strawberry grower Nathan Baronio has already recorded more than half a million in lost crop on the register.

"It is an incredibly demoralising situation," Mr Baronio said.

"Our staff and management team are working way too long and hard to get the crop off, but eventually we've had to sacrifice some fields in order to harvest others.

"I want to encourage all my fellow growers around the country to record their losses on the register, and where they feel comfortable, share their story with the public."

CLICK HERE to access the National Lost Crop Register.

MORE READING: 'Farm workers: Markets endorse ethical employment program'.

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by