Hundreds of tonnes of Australian citrus fruit is being dumped due to labour shortages and a lack of demand at supermarkets.
Across Queensland’s North Burnett region, the country’s largest citrus supplier, entire paddocks of mandarins, lemons and grapefruits rot on the ground, deemed unsellable.
Citrus grower Bevan Young said a shortage of workers early on pushed harvest later into the season which has created an oversupply of fruit as Queensland growers are forced to compete with fruit from other regions.
He said it’s likely he’ll have to toss half his crop.
“The returns are as bad as I have seen them,” Mr Young said.
Citrus farmers have conceded they don’t expect to turn a profit this season but are hopeful for next year if they get support from the government to expand quarantine facilities for seasonal workers.
“In the long term we would like to see a regional hub which could services at least this state (Queensland), but other states too,” Nathan Hancock from Citrus Australia said.
Consumers can do their part by choosing more Australian fruit at the checkout.