Labor shortage in the nursery and horticulture industries
The need for labor in the nursery and horticultural industry has been steadily climbing, at the same time, year after year, the industry faces shortages in finding people to perform repetitive and labor intensive tasks. This chronic shortage of labor is due largely to the repetitive and labor intensive nature of the tasks that is required by workers. Not only are these tasks physically taxing, they can lead to injuries.
Other factors make a nursery job undesirable. Being a highly seasonal industry, that is most often based in rural areas, where housing and transportation pose challenges for workers, the industries’ appeal is low. Without an adequate number of workers, the industry is not always able to meet demands and many seasonally dependent fruits and vegetables go to waste.
Nurseries suffer from not only a lack of workers, but existing workers who sustain on-the-job injuries erode nurseries’ already shrinking profit margin. With fewer workers, there is a demand for higher wages. Combined with resulting inefficient processes, which lead to the overuse of resources like water and fertilizers, the profit margin of many nurseries is at an all time low.
With the increased importance placed on the public’s consumption of fruits and vegetables, for health reasons, the demand has increased. It is unfortunate that the industry is facing substantial challenges that result in a decline in production. The industry is ripe for a disruptive solution that solves these significant challenges.