Granite Belt Growers Association president Angus Ferrier said our local growers will now be more vigilant than ever in regards to health and safety.
Granite Belt Growers Association president Angus Ferrier said our local growers will now be more vigilant than ever in regards to health and safety.

Pressure is on for growers to produce during pandemic

AMONG the coronavirus pandemic it's business almost as usual for our local growers.

President of the Granite Belt Growers Association Angus Ferrier said local growers in our area are now having to cope with a new applied pressure that hasn't been seen before.

"The horticulture industry plays an essential role in feeding our population.

"It is one of the only industries encouraged to continue operating but growers will have to do that within some new guidelines with the emphasis on health and safety," he said.

Mr Ferrier said he doesn't see it as a 'good thing', just an applied pressure on our growers to produce under extreme circumstances.

"It is declared as an essential industry by the state government. It's an obvious outcome that the industry has to continue to feed people," Mr Ferrier said.

Joe Moro, chair of the Queensland Horticulture Council said while there is concerns for the supply of some inputs, the greatest challenge the industry faces is finding enough workers to harvest crops.

"Because we do normally employ a number of backpackers who are now deciding against or are unable to travel," she said.

"As an industry we're quickly establishing what our shortfall in workers might be and working with state and federal governments on initiatives to fill any gaps."

Growcom CEO David Thomson said during this time of uncertainty he remains confident for the horticulture industry.

"There is an enormous weight of evidence linking a varied diet that includes lots of fresh fruit and vegetable with improved immunity to every kind of disease.

"Now more than ever is the time to consider eating more fresh produce and less processed goods.

"We hope promoting a change in diet now to improve our ability to withstand coronavirus will lead to long term behaviour change and improved public health outcomes."