The NT Government has done the math on our mango picking crisis.
Recruiting 170 pickers from Vanuata does not put much of a dent into the 1000 pickers needed.
So today the Government is forced to appeal to the patriotic spirit of Territorians to sign up for the job.
They even get called a local hero for doing it.
They could also tell people they would make enough money over the harvest to buy a new car.
One Katherine mango farm needs 60 people for work starting the first week of October.
The farm says the workers may be needed to work 6-7 days per week, 10/14 hours per day for eight weeks.
One employer says a standard rate of $24.80 is paid per hour, likely before tax is taken out.
But on one estimate for hours available to harvest - a picker could earn a low $12,000 or a high of almost $20,000 for the two months.
It all depends on how many hours you work.
Department of Primary Industry and Resources and Northern Territory Farmers Association have launched a local worker attraction campaign encouraging Territorians to be local heroes by signing up for fruit picking jobs to help farmers get their produce to market.
The Territory's mangoes are facing new challenges this year due to COVID-19 travel restrictions restricting seasonal and backpacker workforces, with farmers expecting a shortfall of up to 1000 workers.
The "be the pick of the bunch campaign" encourages locals to be a Territory hero and support our farmers.
"With many Territorians hurting from job losses or reduced hours due to COVID-19, this is a chance for meaningful work for locals, and with an iconic Territory product," NT Farmers chief executive Paul Burke.
With the mango picking season only weeks away, Territorians are being told they have the opportunity to learn new skills, work hard, make friends, earn good money and work next to some of the NT's iconic locations.
The picking season lasts 10-12 weeks depending on the weather.
Potential pickers are being told they need to be strong enough to lift heavy tubs or bags of produce, tools, and to carry out repetitive tasks.
Mr Burke said that anyone can apply to do fruit picking.
"All you need is a good attitude, willingness to learn and to be reliable. Fruit picking makes a huge contribution to the local economy, helps our farmers, and gives people an iconic Territory adventure."
Department chief executive Alister Trier said fruit picking was "a great way" of getting a foot in the door in the agricultural sector, with opportunities for ongoing work, training and further career opportunities.
NT Mango Industry Association president Leo Skliros said fruit picking is an iconic Territory experience.
"Work hard, make great friends, learn new skills, see new places and earn good money through the season whilst playing a big part in ensuring our Territory icon doesn't rot on the ground."
The NT is Australia's largest grower of mangoes, producing around 52 per cent of the national crop with a farm gate production value of around $112 million.
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