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Essential input to an essential industry

Growcom is calling on all growers to give input into a study to plan for the future

The importance of agriculture, and the whole food supply chain, as an essential service, has been highlighted in current conditions; and Queensland peak industry body for horticulture, Growcom, is calling on all growers to give input into a study to plan for the future.

Growcom Manager of Policy and Advocacy, Richard Shannon, said getting information from growers is vital.

“Growcom is currently running a survey to determine labour demand over each of the next six months so we can be sure to have the right labour options in place for horticulture to continue feeding the nation,” Richard said.

“One question in the survey asks employers to indicate where they would normally have sourced their casual labour.

“Results so far from just under 130 growers shows that more growers rely on backpackers as their only source of casual labour than any other labour source.

“If horticulture is an essential service, then backpackers are an essential input to an essential service.

“To plan and put the appropriate measures in place it is vitally important we better understand as an industry our future labour demand.

“The measures governments put in place must be scaled and responsive to labour demands down to a regional level.”

Growcom survey designed to capture labour demand

The survey, developed and distributed by Growcom in collaboration with other peak industry bodies around Queensland and Australia, and the Queensland Department of Agriculture, is designed to capture labour demand and provide accurate month-to-month forecasts out to September 2020.

“It is important growers complete this survey according to their normal plans for production, not including any assumptions they may have made about the impacts of coronavirus on either market demand or the availability of labour,” Richard said.

“It is important government understands what will be required for our industry to operate as close to normal as humanly possible.”

The survey can be filled out here, with responses required as soon as possible.