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Fruit and vegetable shortages likely as Australian farm work crisis reaches breaking point

Article image for Fruit and vegetable shortages likely as Australian farm work crisis reaches breaking point

Australian shoppers are being told fruit and vegetable shortages in the coming months are almost certain as the country’s fruit picking problem reaches crisis point.

The government recently introduced assistance payments for people to temporarily move to the regions for farm work.

Fewer than 150 people have taken up that offer.

Ben Rogers, from the National Farmers Federation, said some 26,000 workers were needed over the coming months.

“We’ve been pushing the panic button for months, to be honest,” he told Tom Elliott.

He said the brutal reality was that if workers didn’t come, consumers would lose out.

He said there’d be price rises, food shortages and in some cases limits.

“Don’t be surprised if you go to the supermarket and can’t find strawberries or grapes on the shelves,” Mr Rogers said.

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