Tag Archives: farmer

With no tourists to work for, Australian agriculture is labor short | Instant News

Not this year.

Australia is destroying the coronavirus with one of the world’s strictest border control regimes. But the success created problems for the nation’s farmers, who couldn’t find the labor they needed to pick and grow crops. Backpacking tourists, who typically make up 80% of the workforce harvesting fresh produce, have flocked since the pandemic began, without arriving to replace them. Seasonal workers from the Pacific islands are also largely on lockdown, even though many countries are considered to be free of Covid-19.

Quarantine of workers on farms has been tried, but it is far from what farmers need. Several Australians have accepted offers of government money to move to rural areas. Labor shortages hurt the economy: Farmers report falling profits, and some fear foreclosure. Many are now growing fewer crops, which can drive up food prices.

With increasing fatigue among the regular staff on the 190-acre Skybury farm and little prospect of extra help, Mr. Fagg and colleagues decided late last year to tear up older papaya plants and sacrifice about $ 100,000 in monthly income.

“Our production has fallen by at least a third,” said Mr. Fagg of the farm, which is located about three-quarters of a square mile near Mareeba, in the state of Queensland. It is difficult to build demand for papayas. “

Many countries rely on foreign labor to harvest crops but usually hire seasonal workers rather than tourists. The pandemic has also increased these flows, as workers from poorer parts of the European Union are unable to take agricultural jobs in wealthy countries like France when borders are closed.

With the US, UK and several other countries making progress in vaccinating their populations, hopes are rising that the economic impact of the pandemic will diminish. Australia aims to finish its Covid-19 vaccination campaign by the end of October, and its economy is emerging from its first recession in 29 years.

However, lawmakers have yet to set a date for reopening Australia’s borders, frustrating farmers who say they cannot plan a growth cycle over the past few months. Growing decisions can affect consumers across Asia, as Australia is one of the world’s largest exporters of fruit, wheat and cotton.

The Fresh Products Alliance of Australia, an industry group, estimates a labor shortage could raise fruit and vegetable prices by up to 60% and reduce the value of the horticultural industry by nearly $ 5 billion. Labor intensive plants, such as berries, are the most at risk.

With a population of 25.7 million in an area the size of the US mainland, Australia has long been short on the agricultural workforce it needs.

Under the visa arrangement made about 15 years ago, backpackers can extend their stay from one year to two years if they agree to complete at least 88 days of work within Australia.

Around 40,000 backpackers are typically employed on Australian farms, roughly a third of those on a Working Holiday Maker visa. This arrangement is popular with visitors from Britain, France, Italy and several Asian countries.

However, the pandemic has shrunk this workforce to around 16,000, and continues to decline as backpackers fly home. In addition, only 2,400 seasonal workers from Pacific Island countries came from the more than 22,000 who were previously screened for visas last year.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud predicts a difficult season for farmers. “This is not a new problem; we knew in April that we would be short on labor, “he said.

Littleproud said Australia’s quarantine system was a major hurdle, as places were designated for residents and returnees. Quarantine arrangements are being made by state and territory leaders, who want to prevent a highly contagious variant of the coronavirus.

Several states have experimented with quarantine workers on farms. In October, 151 workers from Tonga flew on charter flights to Queensland to pick grapes. They wear high-visibility clothing and use color-coded equipment to separate them on the farm for 14 days when regularly tested for Covid-19.

Mark Furner, Queensland’s agriculture minister, said trials had been extended and more flights were planned.

Other initiatives include extending backpacker visas if they work on farms. The government has offered cash for Australians to move to rural areas, while students doing summer work in agriculture are eligible for grants. However, the receipts were small, and Australia’s economic recovery made the programs less attractive.

Bill Bulmer, chairman of Ausveg, which represents vegetable and potato farmers, says the sector is short of some 30,000 workers. On his own farm that produces iceberg lettuce, young spinach and other leafy greens in south-eastern Australia’s East Gippsland, crop losses have exceeded $ 600,000 due to labor shortages.

“For many crops, this has been an extraordinary year, and it is very sad for farmers to see it rot in trees or fall to the ground or plow into the soil,” said Richard Shannon, policy and advocacy manager at Growcom, Queensland’s top horticulture body.

A quarter of the 65 respondents on the Growcom crop loss list since December said labor shortages had affected their physical and mental health, including increased working hours, increased stress levels, loss of self-confidence and depression. Five farmers said they risked being seized by their bank or were considering selling.

Gavin Scurr, managing director of Piñata Farms, recently hired a new farm manager for a raspberry growing operation in Tasmania after a labor shortage contributed to the previous manager’s hospitalization under extreme stress.

Labor shortages left Pinata Farms unable to harvest 4 million strawberry punnets, the size of the containers where the fruit is often sold, at an operation in Queensland, costing the company an estimated $ 5.5 million in lost revenue. In addition, 300 tons of pineapples cannot be picked.

“We will be planting strawberries in the coming winter, but we don’t have enough manpower to build the strawberry infrastructure, let alone plant them,” said Mr Scurr, 52 and a third generation farmer. “Maybe next year, maybe longer.”

This story has been published from wire agent bait without modification to the text.

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Ancient creatures threaten the food supply in Kenya | Instant News


Isabel Mberia points to corn crops on her farm in Tigania in the Meru region of eastern Kenya.

Ancient creatures threaten the food supply in Kenya

The morning air was filled with a muffled, buzzing cracking sound.

Instead of the usual green that people expect, the plants are filled with brownish-yellow grasshoppers chewing on the leaves and growing corn cobs.

“When Kenya was attacked by grasshoppers last year, we survived. They didn’t reach here, but this whole year we woke up one morning and people could barely see the sun, ”Mberia, 61, told Anadolu Agency. “There are millions of grasshoppers everywhere. Some people in the market said they had just migrated but they were still here eating it all. “

Its prized mango tree, among others, is in its fields, filled with grasshoppers. The tiny ancient creature that has been a nightmare for farmers since time immemorial is chewing on flowers, fruit, seeds, leaves, and even tree bark.

“There’s not much we can do about them. We tried to get rid of them but there were too many of them, ”said Mberia. “We’ve never had a food problem here. Together with my husband, in over 40 years of farming, we have never seen anything like it. This is the worst plague we have ever seen. Now food is very expensive because all of our food is being eaten. “

Biblical plague

Farmer Anne Kagendo, 48, also counted the losses and bemoaned the locust invasion that led to food shortages.

“They eat tomatoes, potatoes, corn, various beans, even cotton … who knows that grasshoppers eat cotton … even my neighbor’s wheat and bananas have been eaten,” he said. “This is clearly a biblical plague. I have never seen anything like this, they are merciless and hungry all the time. ”

Thousands of farmers in Meru Regency are counting huge losses because desert grasshoppers destroy agriculture every day. Locusts arrived at a time when most of the produce grown in eastern Kenya was ready to be harvested.

Farmers in Meru are among hundreds of thousands from 14 other districts of the 47 that make up Kenya, which was hit by a second wave of locust outbreaks that were twice as deadly as the one that hit Kenya in 2020.

The government said it had deployed spraying and surveillance planes to help deal with the pests and noted it had sufficient resources and was better equipped than 2020 to fight back.

Government spokesman Cyrus Oguna is pushing for collaborative efforts with Ethiopia and Somalia, from where grasshoppers migrate to Kenya, to eradicate pests.

“If Kenya is actively containing or combating locusts, it may not mean much if neighboring countries do not do the same,” he said in a statement.

Agriculture Minister Peter Munya told reporters that more than 75 herds had been reported in Kenya.

“We can’t fight grasshoppers in Somalia and Ethiopia where they breed. “What we can do is fight them in Kenya, because they are breeding in Kenya, it should be noted that the war against grasshoppers might last until June,” he said.

Armed with an estimated budget of 3.2 billion shillings, or $ 30 million, set aside to fight a second wave, Munya said Kenya was well equipped to fight the swarm and promised that in countries where livelihoods had been affected, governments would step in and offers crop and livestock interventions that include distribution of seeds and cereals, clean water and fertilizers among others.

The desert locust is considered the most destructive migratory pest in the world, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

A one-square-kilometer swarm, a little over a mile and a half, contains up to 80 million locusts and can eat the same amount of food in one day as about 35,000 people. The number of grasshoppers increased 20-fold in three months with each new generation.

Food shortages

At the Mulika market in Tigania, residents complain that even though the government has guaranteed everything will be fine, food shortages have occurred.

“The price of foodstuffs, especially our basic needs … mostly vegetables, has increased three or even four times,” said Kagwiria Juliet.

He noted that residents are now forced to eat lots of cereals that have been dried and preserved.

However, the poultry business is booming.

“Our business is doing very well because grasshoppers are a good food source for poultry,” said trader Timothy Munya. “Birds love grasshoppers. We are not sure if we can meet the demand and many people choose foods like chicken because it is cheaper. “

The intensity of East African desert locusts has also been blamed on climate change with a focus on Cyclone Gati that hit the Somali coast in the Indian Ocean in November last year, the FAO said.

The East African food basket region receives heavy rainfall during the summer, promising farmers good yields and providing plentiful grazing land for nomadic herders.

But the torrential rains also provided food for the locust swarms that originated in Yemen, moved to Somalia and spread across East Africa.

Etienne Peterschmitt of the United Nations said in a statement: “Rain and wind are the two most favorable conditions for desert locusts to reproduce rapidly and spread over areas where they have been controlled.”

In Kenya, where grasshoppers have ripped through more than a quarter of counties across the country, nomadic farmers and herders have been left destroyed.

The Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news offered to subscribers on the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and is in summary form. Please contact us for subscription options.


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Australia, Like the Whole World, Is Witnessing the Rise of Authoritarianism in India | Instant News

For now, Australia’s official lines in India and China hide a contradiction: while successive Australian governments have criticized China’s human rights abusesThe Morrison’s government, “the official line” is silent on the rise of authoritarianism and the erosion of democracy in India.

Australian government minister Simon Birmingham on an official trade mission to Delhi last year praised India’s rule of law as one of the nation’s strengths. These comments were made in the days following the shocking attacks on Delhi’s Muslim community. Birmingham stated that “violence is India’s problem”, adding that “Australia continues to think that one of the most valuable things about India is tolerance… of religious diversity”.

In November last year, Australian High Commissioner, Barry O’Farrell went to Nagpur in Maharashtra to meet the head of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Mohan Bhagwat, at the headquarters of the organization. This visit surprised many because O’Farrell is only the second senior diplomat to make such a visit. Another visitor was the German ambassador to India, Walter Lindner.

During the visit, O’Farrell was photographed in front of photos of RSS leaders, including Ms. Golwalkar. Golwalkar praises Nazi Germany to “cleanse the country of the Semitic race – the Jews”. Given the organization’s track record, it is understandable why many interpreted this prominent diplomat’s visit as justifying the RSS and, by association, Hindu nationalism.

Australian High Commissioner Barry O’Farrell with the head of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Mohan Bhagwat. Photo: Twitter / @ AusHCIndia

However, whatever the official line, not all Australians are blind to the fact that the reality for Indians is that elements of fascism thrive in the BJP’s version of democracy. Awareness is growing in Australia, led by nongovernmental parliamentarians and members of civil society. After the Delhi pogrom several Australian Indians circulated a plea which calls on India’s High Commissioner for Australia to fight communal violence. Community organizations work with parliamentarians to hold round table discussions on human rights violations in India in the Australian parliament.

That the latest roundtable on “Is India Becoming a Fascist Nation?”, which is held in the New South Wales parliament organized by a broad international coalition consisting of based in Australia Humanism Project, Indian American Muslim Council, Hinduism for Human Rights, and Amnesty International Australia. The forum, organized by Australian state and federal lawmakers, attracts speakers and lawmakers from the US, UK and India.

Country and federal Green party lawmakers have spoken in their parliament about the crimes of the Modi government, including taking over Kashmir and ending its special status. Too movement has been submitted for debate in this parliament, which urges the Australian government to call on the Indian government to repeal the citizenship law and treat all its citizens equally.

The dangers are seen by many principled Australians. Since Modi’s 2019 election won, the BJP has stepped up its pursuit of a Hindu nationalist agenda. So far this has happened increased anti-Muslim attacks. Most Indian Muslims face great difficulties. The Modi regime has sought to limit Muslim rights, particularly through the recent changes to the citizenship law.

The fair and just foundations on which India’s judicial, parliamentary and educational systems are built are being eroded widely. Fascist-like infrastructure development – in terms of passing discriminatory laws, neutralizing judges and growing a BJP-controlled police force – is at an advanced stage in India. Legislation similar to the discriminatory Nuremberg laws of the 1930s on citizenship and marriage issues has been passed by the state and federal parliaments in which the BJP dominates.

The Modi regime has also come under fire for exacerbating oppression and discrimination against Dalits, Adivasi and other marginalized groups. Many forest dwellers lost their homes and livelihoods in a series of land grabs by mining and forestry companies that had provided funds to the BJP. supporters of the Modi regime. BJP forces are also involved in state-based conflicts, particularly in Kashmir.

Security guards place barricades on the street during restrictions imposed on the first anniversary of the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, in Srinagar, Wednesday, August 5, 2020. Photo: PTI,

People got up to protest

This kind of trend in Indian politics is likely to worsen as the BJP has a strong hold. Party strategists know all the tricks of modern elections and have a special tendency for fake news to discredit opponents. The BJP now is the richest political party in India by a large margin and have the resources to win big.

While it is important that India move towards a fair electoral system, with limits on political contributions and election spending, electoral politics is not the solution to stop the crimes against humanity and human rights violations that occur in many parts of India every day. .

The good news is that the movement of people is on the rise, including the world’s biggest strike 250 million workers and farmers, supported by their allies from civil society including various groups of students and women. This is a major challenge for the BJP.

So far, the claim that India is a great secular democracy has become a cloak of widespread injustice. Most people’s view of India would be closer to the friendly promotion of Incredible India than Arundhati Roy’s assessment: “We are against the fascist regime in India.” But the world is waking up.

As in Australia, in Britain too, human rights abuses against Indian minorities have received greater attention. Early January Members of the British parliament from a number of parties debating the persecution of Muslims, Christians and other minority groups. They also recommended that any future trade agreements between Britain and India include human rights provisions.

At the same time, however, supporters of right-wing extremism are taking encouragement and lessons from the path chosen by Modi and Trump. Australian-born terrorists who massacred 51 Muslim worshipers at two mosques in New Zealand before the killings praising Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose”.

That Norwegian terrorists and mass murderer, Anders Breivik, included the website of the Bharatiya Janata Party and related organizations in his public declaration of how to destroy a democratically elected government. For Breivik, the Hindu nationalist movement was an important ally in the struggle to achieve this result.

The coup attempt on the Capitol has amplified the global dangers of right-wing extremism. It is now more widely recognized that elements of fascism have had a significant impact on US politics. The former governor of California, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, in a touching address about the influence of Nazism on his family in Austria, compared events in the Capitol to the 1938 Kristallnacht attack on Jewish homes, businesses and places of worship. He also described the Proud Boys, America’s far-right extremist group, as Nazis.

India has a dark history of fascist elements. In the early twenties Modi joins RSS, as do many of its BJP colleagues. The founders of the RSS, the parent body of the BJP, admired Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. BJP never broke up with the main objective of RSS defines India according to Hindu beliefs.

The Delhi riots that occurred when Trump visited Delhi in 2020 bear a heartwarming resemblance to the Kristallnacht that Schwarzenegger spoke of. Delhi Police, that is report live to Home Minister Amit Shah, who is suspected of facilitating and committing many crimes. Their actions were widely condemned.

Delhi riots

Security guards walk through the Bhagirathi Vihar area in riot-hit northeast Delhi, February 26, 2020. Photo: PTI

There are instances where the police escorted the attackers and do not intervene to stop criminal acts of violence. They break the CCTV camera, beat Muslim men and bullied Muslim teenagers to sing nationalist slogans.

While the violence in Delhi was still going on, Modi and Trump embraced, held hands and praised each other, in front of a 1,00,000 strong crowd in Ahmedabad. Now, Trump has been overthrown and impeached a second time historically for inciting uprisings. In the US, it highlights how the President and parts of his administration are pushing rampant nationalist and white supremacists to commit acts of domestic terrorism.

In contrast to Trump, Modi appears on the global stage as a sensible elder statesman. But politics is about change and events in the US show that even the world’s most powerful leaders can be held to account for their abuse of power.

For now, the Australian government is lenient on issues in India, but efforts are being made to change this, and not too soon. After all, global scrutiny of BJP and RSS activities will be critical to ending human rights abuses and the rise of an increasingly authoritarian government in India.

Lee Rhiannon is a former Senator of the Australian Green Party. Over the last five decades he has worked in various social, environmental and industrial justice campaigns.


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During farmers’ protests, Instagram blocked #Sikh Hashtag again; the second such incident this year | Instant News

Instagram temporarily blocked the hashtag #sikh on its platform. The Facebook-owned photo-sharing platform said it temporarily blocked the hashtag #sikh after reports that the community violated Instagram’s community guidelines. Last Saturday, users reported on Twitter that the hashtag #sikh# was not searchable on Instagram, and some reported that the hashtag #sikh was blocked on Facebook. This is the second time the #sikh hashtag has been blocked by the photo-sharing platform. Instagram and Facebook also blocked the same tags earlier this year. The company said at the time that the label was wrongly blocked.

A Facebook spokesperson told NDTV Gadgets 360 that the #sikh# hashtag was temporarily blocked because the community reported that it violated Instagram’s Community Guidelines. The company later confirmed that the t0 Gadgets 360 hash tag was backed up and can operate normally. Some reports on Twitter stated that the company blocked the hashtag #sikh due to ongoing farmer protests in the country. The #sikh hashtag now shows approximately 2.5 million posts on Instagram when searching. According to the NDTV Gadgets 360 report, the Instagram app displays a “hide post” error when users search for the #sikh hashtag. However, after some users asked questions, the app started to display some posts.

Also in June, it was discovered that Instagram and its parent Facebook blocked the hashtag #sikh on the platform. However, shortly after users started reporting this issue, it went unblocked. Instagram apologized for blocking hashtags and stated that it was “incorrectly blocked” in March after receiving the prompt.


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Companies provide awards for supporting local foods | Local News | Instant News

Blue Cross, Blue Shield of North Carolina has reached out to help local farmers who have been negatively affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The COVID-19 attack has caused food insecurity in western North Carolina to increase by 60 percent, with 250,000 people without access to adequate nutrition. In a survey completed by 900 farmers in the region, 80 percent reported decreased sales, and 75 percent reported that if the disruption in sales continued for several months, agricultural losses would result in bankruptcy or closure.

To help address these challenges and improve food security in western North Carolina, Blue Cross NC has invested $ 275,000 in the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. ASAP works to strengthen local agricultural economies by connecting farmers to markets and supporters and by building healthy communities through connections to local foods.

Through the Blue Cross NC investment, ASAP has developed a response to support local farming communities during this pandemic, which includes:

• Farmers Market Support – With the rapid adoption of a safe operating model, including pre-packaged food, social distancing and contactless payment arrangements, ASAP can ensure 90 percent of the farmers market in its service area can continue to serve them. community.

• Local Food Guide – ASAP updated its online portal with more information to better connect the community with local farmers to make it easier for people to find places to buy staples and even order food online.


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