#smashanavoathome ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
Avocados Australia New COVID-19 resources released
Industry Notice

New resources and the latest updates

For orchards and packhouses operating during COVID-19, there are now a host of new workplace resources available. Also in this update: visa changes, what to do before you pick, and what you can do to support the industry.

Suggestions and resources for avocado orchards/packsheds

Avocados Australia has compiled a summary of resources, highlighting some key points for avocado orchards and packsheds: go directly to this useful summary here.
This is in addition to the general resources page, which is a more comprehensive collection of links and documents.

National Farmers Federation workplace guide

The NFF has now released version one of its COVID-19 workplace guide. Click here to access. The guide covers: general practices, access to labour and workforce planning, WHS obligations, industrial relations, and a COVID-19 personal disclosure statement template. NFF plans to update this guide as new information comes to hand, so please ensure you are using the latest version.

New materials from Safe Work Australia

New resources for employers include:

Safe Work previously released a fact sheet for agriculture about minimising the risk of exposure, click here to view the PDF.

Reducing workforce impact guide & checklist released

Safe Food Queensland has prepared a set of guidelines (and associated checklist) to help food and fibre production and processing businesses, and the industries in which they operate, to understand the risks of COVID-19 to their workforce, and to describe the measures that can be implemented when any of these risks are realised. The guidelines, while produced in Queensland are generally applicable and include scenarios for horticultural businesses.

Click here to access both documents.

Visa changes announced

The Government is making a number of changes to temporary visa holder arrangements during the coronavirus crisis in order to protect the health of our community, safeguard job opportunities for Australians, support critical industries, and assist with rapid recovery.

Some of the changes include:

  • Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme workers can extend their stay for up to 12 months to work for approved employers (ensuring pastoral care and accommodation needs of workers are met to minimise health risks to visa holders and the community).
  • Approved employers under the Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme will need to continue engaging with the Department of Education, Skills and Employment on labour market testing to ensure recruitment of Australians first.
  • Working Holiday Makers (WHMs) who work in agriculture or food processing will be exempt from the six month work limitation with the one employer and eligible for a further visa to keep working in these critical sectors if their current visa is due to expire in the next six months.
  • Conditions will be placed upon visa holders to self-isolate for 14 days before taking up employment in a different region (including termination of visas where there is non-compliance). From the various media reports, we understand visa holders will be able to register their isolation with the Australian Government. It is unclear how/if this information will be accessible by employers.
  • Management of visa-holder movement is the responsibility of each state and work is underway to try and achieve some consistency. The Queensland Government has advised that it currently considers Queensland as one region and has no plans to enforce self-isolation for visa-holder movement within Queensland.
  • Employers will need to commit to providing safe accommodation for agricultural workers that complies with social distancing requirements.
  • Arrangement will also need to be in place for a declaration between employers and employees that all protocols necessary to ensure human health and accommodation requirements have been met.

Fair Work Commission varies awards

The Commission has decided to vary a large number of Awards, including horticulture, to include the pandemic leave provisions:

  1. a right for employees to take two weeks of “unpaid pandemic leave” when required by government directions to self-isolate; and
  2. the capacity for employer and employee to agree for the employee to take twice as much annual leave at half pay.
You can find the full decision by clicking here.

show us your recipes!

As we live through this COVID-19 pandemic, we are experiencing new disruptions to business on a daily basis.

To keep driving demand for in-home consumption of avocados during this time, we would love for growers to submit a short video of how you use avocado at home, and what your best at-home-use ideas are.

These short videos will be posted on the Australian Avocados Facebook (@AustralianAvocados) and Instagram (australianavocados) Story platforms, with a call to action for consumers to support local growers by sharing how they #smashanavoathome. Feel free to share images of your favourite avocado dish, as well!

How to be involved?

  1. Grab your phone and record a short 30-45 second video covering the following key points:
  • inspire consumers with your story

“Hi, I’m Jo Smith from Avo Farms and I have been growing Hass avocados in North Queensland with my family for five years”

  • share your favourite way to eat avocados at home

Our favourite way to eat avocados at home is to put them on some rye bread with tomato and a sprinkle of salt and pepper for breakfast. We have three kids, they love to put it in smoothies with bananas”

  • share your favourite tip for consumers

A tip from our family to yours; buy some that are hard and ripen them on the bench at home for guaranteed no bruising”

  1. Post the video to your social media making sure to tag @AustralianAvocados & hashtag #smashanavoathome
  2. Email or text your video to Hayleigh at mdm@avocado.org.au or 0418 960 125 by Friday, 17 April.

Tips for videos

  • Keep the video length between 30-45 seconds
  • The video can be filmed on a mobile phone, but ensure you have good lighting
  • Please shoot the video in 'Portrait Mode'
  • For the avocado dish, keep it simple to make and without using hard-to-source ingredients. (Find inspiration for recipes from the Australian Avocados website!)

To support this marketing push, we are also encouraging you to share your favourite avocado snacks and meals on your social media with #smashanavoathome and tagging in both Australian Avocados and Avocados Australia (@AvocadosAustralia on Facebook, and @AvocadosAu on Twitter).

Assess the market before you pick

Remember to stay in touch with your supply chain partners before you pick. While there is now potential for the re-opening of some export markets (click here for information on that), the food service sector is still severely restricted.

It is essential that everyone who is harvesting or about to start harvesting carefully considers the current market dynamics and the options available to respond to changes.

  • Maintain regular open communication with your supply chain partners before, during and after picking. Packing fruit without a market is extremely risky.
  • Avocado growers have a lot of flexibility around harvest times. The best place to store fruit when markets are full is on the tree.
  • Consider size picking (based on the advice of your wholesaler and supply chain partners).
  • We need to have the most accurate information about supply, particularly at times like this. We have a great advantage in having Infocado to help with planning, but everyone needs to put greater effort into their forecasting so we can plan confidently.

Other things to consider

  • Ensuring consumers are getting the best eating experience through maintaining high quality standards
  • Sharing Hort Innovation’s marketing efforts through your own digital marketing platforms (you can find posts on Facebook and Instagram)
  • Avocados Australia is continually curating a list of national resources (click here), and we are posting the latest news to the National and International news sections (click here) of the website.
  • If you are an Avocados Australia Member, you can find a daily blog (click here) and state-based resources under the COVID-19 heading in your Member Area (click here).
Horticulture Innovation Australia
This Industry Notice has been funded by Hort Innovation, using the avocado research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.