Sky News host Chris Smith says a new federal government report has warned that the price of summer vegetables and some fruit varieties are set to rise by between 15 and 25 per cent in the coming months.
Mr Smith said the report found travel restrictions due to COVID-19 – which have caused a chronic labour shortage – has left many farmers struggling to pick and pack their products.
Mr Smith spoke with Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) Chief Analyst Dr Jared Greenville about agricultural production in the nation.
Dr Greenville said, “agricultural production is looking pretty good, overall, for this financial year”.
“We’re forecasting a big increase in production”.
He did say there are “some issues with the amount of overseas labour that’s available for a number of producers”.
“As the sector gears up for its big summer harvest, starting in February, we would expect that given those workers aren’t in the country, there could be some scarce labour around”.
“That would mean that fruit doesn’t get picked, or vegetables, and that could increase the prices for consumers at the end of the day,” Dr Greenville said.