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Hort production to fall, prices to rise, labour to bite: ABARE outlook

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Prices of summer vegetables, stone fruit, pome fruit and table grapes are forecast to rise by between 15% and 25% in 2020–21 according to Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) December 2020 quarterly agricultural outlook.

The report confirms horticultural production and prices are more influenced by COVID-19 containment measures than any other agricultural commodity due to the industry’s greater reliance on overseas labour to manually harvest crops, and limited alternative sources of supply for some products.

The report also documents the significant decline in working holiday and seasonal worker visas since March 2019. Through most of 2019 working holiday visas were steady, tracking around 140,000, from December 2019 the numbers began to drop and by October 2020 were sitting around 60,000 – an almost 60% decline in a labour source that provides more than half and in some months almost two-thirds of Australia’s harvest workforce.

Click here to read ABARES’ Horticulture: December quarter 2020 report or download the Agricultural Forecasts and Outlook Report for December 2020 (all commodities).

Tagged:
APAL Coronavirus Industry Data labour

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