Woman picking fresh tomato. Picture: File
Woman picking fresh tomato. Picture: File

3000 JOBS: Demand for pickers remains high

DESPITE the impacts from coronavirus, the Wide Bay will need about 3000 fruit and vegetable pickers every month for the remainder of the year.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said economic modelling based on survey data and advice from labour hire companies confirmed the required workforce was on hand and keen to start.

"Our agricultural sector needs workers, whether they be local or coming interstate, to guarantee a steady supply of fresh produce," Mr Furner said.

"At a time when so many people are looking for work, there is major demand in Wide Bay, including the Bundaberg area, with its significant production of tomatoes, capsicums, sweet potatoes and avocados.

"This region is going to need about 3000 people each month all the way through to the end of the year."

Mr Furner said there was also a demand for the citrus harvest in the Wide Bay and Central Queensland regions.

The survey to determine workforce needs was conducted by Queensland peak horticulture body, Growcom with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Growcom CEO David Thompson said finding employees for harvests was always a challenge but it was magnified by the coronavirus.

"Finding the right people, in the right place and at the right time has always proven problematic for horticulture," Mr Thomson said.

"As an industry we're obviously primarily concerned with the health and safety of our employees, but we're also very mindful of the wellbeing of the residents of regional towns.

"For this reason, we are encouraging growers to consider their workforce needs now, advertise jobs early, and wherever they can, post their vacancies on the Harvest Trail jobs board."

Mr Thompson said workers should not turn up to farms unannounced and should go through formal hiring networks like Jobs Finder Queensland and HarvestTrail.

If workers are entering Queensland and have been in a declared COVID-19 hotspot in the last 14 days, they must self-quarantine at their own expense for 14 days before starting work.

To advertise a job on the Harvest Trails jobs board click here.