NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole says the state needs “thousands” of farm workers to be coming in amid major labour shortages.

It comes as the first group of more than 50,000 Pacific Island workers is set to touch down next week.

“I know that there has been some … workers that have been coming in but what we really need to do is actually pick up the rate of numbers that are coming into the state,” Mr Toole told Sky News host Chris Smith.

He said when he got the job as deputy premier, the “first thing” he did was speak to Foreign Minister Marise Payne about the need for more workers.

“Because we have a major labour shortage and we need thousands of workers to be coming here into New South Wales right now,” Mr Toole said.

“What we really need is workers, and we need workers to be coming into the country to be able to pick the fruit from these trees.”

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