Back Picker app aims to connect growers, pickersTechnology & Data
David Fevaleaki grew up in Robinvale, where his parents have worked in table grape and almond farms for over 30 years. It is this that helped him understand the pressure points when it comes to labour hire on fruit farms.
David has created the Back Picker app, which will be available on the app store for both Apple and Android devices over the next few days. It is initially being trialled in North-West Victoria before being rolled out across Australia in the first half of 2020.
The app aims to bridge the gap between growers and pickers without the need for a third party labour provider. Farmers or employers are able to register their business and post jobs, with potential pickers able to find areas where they can work prior to arriving there, as well as accommodation options.
The app will allow growers the chance to see a potential worker’s certificates and VISA documents, and features a two-way rating system designed to assist both growers in dinding reliable employees and employees to find ethical employers.
“Farmers or employees can register within three minutes,” David said.
“What we found in market research was that anything much longer than three minutes would not be successful.
“We’ve got a lot of features, but what we want to do is to put out the plain version first, where farmers and employees can connect, and then we can talk to them to work out what they need from there.”
The app will be free for the first four months. Labour hire providers will be able to register in the same manner as farmers in future versions.
The app is part of a digital shift taking place in the way labour hire is conducted. The locally developed GrowData app links pickers to their contractors, allowing for a streamlined reporting process. The U.S based FieldClock provides similar assistance with operations, while New Zealand even debuted a robotic apple picker last year.
“When we spoke to farmers, their three main issues were water, skilled labour and entry level labour hire.
“The rain is out of our hands but we think we can help with the third one.”
Victorian growers are strongly encouraged to check with their labour hire providers – or the online Labour Hire Authority register – that they have applied for a licence to provide workers for hire this season under the recent Victorian Labour Licensing Scheme.
From 30 October, 2019, growers must only use licensed labour hire providers, or providers that have applied for a licence and have not had their application refused, or face penalties of up to $120,000 for individuals or $500,000 for companies for using unlicensed providers – click here for more information.