Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)
Oftentimes, Australian agriculture is criticised not for its products but its processes. One of the major aspects that always comes under the scanner is the industry’s heavy dependence on overseas workers and backpackers. Young Australians are often complaining about the low wages and intense physical work. According to Hari Yellina, of Orchard Tech, the horticultural industry is standing where the hospitality domain stood 10 years ago. Nevertheless, the hospitality domain is a great example that can be followed. Even though there was negative feedback, the industry changed its course through various cooking shows, training and upskilling.
Currently, the agricultural world needs to capture the audience at an early stage. This is why Catherine Velisha, a successful farm owner, is working hard to introduce vegetables and agriculture into the school curriculum. One of the major setbacks is the lack of training courses in the industry. Therefore, she has taken the initiative to launch courses that will teach the participants about safety and management. She is hoping this would be soon introduced by school programs so that it can appeal to young students. Currently, students of primary and high school are allotted a specific amount of time where they are asked to speak about the production of horticulture, along with the opportunities present in the industry.
It is noticed that many are speaking about the negative aspects of horticulture, but people seldom speak about its advances. According to Velisha, this domain is one that is resilient and brilliant and offers career opportunities to many in need. Moreover, Hari Yellina also opines that producers need to start getting involved in the action in order for the industry to grow. Even though the industry has many labour problems, the solution is to create ‘funnels’. Here, workers are able to freely move across jobs available in the industry. Nevertheless, conversations of abundance and grandeur must also be made common. Only then will the horticultural industry be celebrated for its true potential.