According to the National Farmers Federation (NFF), a shortage of at least 172,000 workers across the food supply chain could have long-term effects on the price and availability of food in Australian stores. However, the industry does not want to attract workers with better wages.
NFF CEO Tony Mahar told The New Daily that if there are not enough workers to plant or harvest a crop, then the amount of produce that makes its way into stores will be reduced, which will push up prices.
Ben White, associate professor at the University of Western Australia’s School of Agriculture, said how much prices are affected depends on the importance of labor in the production of the individual agricultural product. This means produce such as tomatoes, lettuce, apples, and strawberries, which rely on hands-on workers for planting, harvesting, and packing, will be subject to more price pressures if there are not enough workers.