By Acting Growcom CEO, Richard Shannon

A common theme in the media this past week has been the link between labour shortages in the horticulture industry and what affect this will have on the price of fresh produce.

Finding the right labour and skills at the right time and in the right place has always been a challenge for the horticulture industry. Coronavirus has only added an additional level of difficulty.

With an estimated national workforce shortage predicted of over 70,000 – of which 22,000 workers are needed in Queensland – there is a grim outlook for Australians looking to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

Looking after our health has never been more important as we find our way through this COVID-19 crisis.

Any price increase brought about by falling workforce numbers and increased costs of production will make it more difficult for Australians to reach this goal.

Many consumers are aware they need to consume more fresh produce in order to meet the recommended daily serves of two fruits and five vegetables, but less is known about the link between eating a wider variety of fruits, vegetables and nuts and improved wellbeing.

Research has shown a varied diet, composed of lots of different plant-based, high-fibre food can help boost gut health and prevent against disease.

As the peak body for Queensland horticulture, Growcom is committed to ensuring all Australians have access to affordable, nutritionally adequate, and safe food to meet essential dietary needs for an active, healthy life.

As such, we will continue to work with State and Federal Governments to ensure our growers can access the labour they need to harvest the fresh produce that supports the health and wellbeing of all Australians.