A second contingent of mango workers from Vanuatu will touch down in Darwin tomorrow morning.
Another 160 seasonal workers will arrive on a NT Farmers' charter flight just as the Katherine mango harvest cranks up.
Despite calls from Senator Sam McMahon and others, the workers will have to spend two weeks in Howard Springs quarantine.
Because of the lateness of their arrival and the risk to the harvest, there had been calls for them to quarantine on farm.
Sydney-siders were allowed in to the Northern Territory from last Friday and New Zealanders are expected to bypass quarantine as well when they can travel to the NT from Friday.
With no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Vanuatu it had been hoped the NT Government may have allowed the workers an exemption from the quarantine.
The first plane load of seasonal workers from Vanuatu arrived in the Northern Territory a month ago and have been busy since leaving quarantine in mainly Darwin rural farms where the harvest starts earlier.
Katherine's mango harvest is starting to crank into full production and there remains a dire labour shortage.
There are few pickers coming to the rescue from overseas or even interstate.
The biggest of all the growers, anywhere in the Territory, is Katherine's Nino Niceforo who says he should already have 70 pickers working alongside him on the farm, he has 10.
He said efforts to encourage Australians to rescue the harvest have all failed.
The NT Government launched a campaign in August to get Territorians to sign up to pick mangoes.
"That was the only plane-load, we have another plane ready to go but it is just sitting there," Mr Niceforo said late last week.
He accused governments of sitting on the hands and being tied up by red tape.
"We don't have the luxury of two weeks to wait any more."
He said he was angry the NT and Federal Governments were so excited about allowing New Zealanders into the Territory, without quarantining, when the NT's biggest horticultural crop was facing ruin.
"You tell me that makes sense."
NT Mango Industry Association president Leo Skliros said the seasonal worker solution was pushed onto the NT's growers as the harvest solution when the backpackers and student workforce was lost through the pandemic.
"There have been so many hold-ups, so much red tape, and not just from one government.
"You could say there has only been a slight labor issue in the Darwin area but now that Katherine is starting I am not sure what is going to happen."
"The seasonal workers are arriving just in time to help harvest mangoes in the NT," NT Farmers CEO Paul Burke said.
"Without these workers, farmers would have been forced to let their fruit go to waste.
"The workers will spend two weeks in quarantine as required by the Chief Health Officer, the cost of the quarantine will be covered entirely by growers."
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