AN innovative digital citrus harvest handbook, with a supporting fitness and nutrition guide for pickers, has been designed by the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) to help deliver quality fruit to lucrative export markets and maintain a healthy workforce.
NSW DPI citrus development officer, Steven Falivene, said the new online guides can be downloaded with a special feature which allows industry to sponsor and print their own booklets.
“We’ve taken the handbook and guide into the digital age with the option to print commercial press quality copies, or print good quality copies at home and in the office,” Mr Falivene said.
“The new handbook shows pickers recommended harvest techniques, which reduce fruit damage and help pickers pick faster and more safely.
“Less fruit damage reduces potential fruit rot and helps Australian citrus maintain a premium place in high value export markets.
“It outlines what pickers should wear, how to best pick mandarins and oranges and how to use ladders and other harvest tools.
“Pickers and orchard workers need to be aware of machinery, tractors and forklifts, in their workplace and we place emphasis on personal health and safety, including recommended manual lifting techniques.
“The supporting guide aims to help growers address health and safety issues in the workplace to maintain a productive workforce.”
Mr Falivene said citrus picking is no stroll in the park, yet it can be a satisfying and financially rewarding experience.
“Tips on health and nutrition were produced in consultation with local health workers and personal trainers to give pickers an holistic approach to the job,” he said.
“These resources support the professionalism of the Australian citrus industry in producing high quality fruit to deliver a competitive advantage over other southern hemisphere producers.”