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Australia’s richest man looks to Israel for drought and visa shortages

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Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

Australia’s richest man believes robots could be the answer to the agricultural labor shortage, as farmers demand the Morrison government come up with a solution to a shortfall of 100,000 workers that has left fruit rotting across the country. Mr Anthony Pratt,t he executive chairman of packaging giant Visy Industries and a food security philanthropist, said “on-farm robotics solve the backpacker labour shortage”.

Australian agricultural innovation powerhouse Costa, which has seen its share price soar on the back of glasshouse-based farming, has begun using agriculture robots to pick its strawberries and blueberries.

Mr Pratt has also said Australia should look to Israel and California to solve its water management problems.

“Some underground water is salty, so can’t all be used for irrigation. But Israel processes brackish groundwater for agriculture. And solar-powered desal equipment teamed with modern bore equipment could yield fresh water.”

Read more at the Sydney Morning Herald.