THE NFU is urging the authorities to provide immediate clarity on how vegetables, fruit and flower businesses are going to be able to recruit seasonal workers next year.
NFU vice president Tom Bradshaw said:”We’re in a vital period in recruitment for several growers. As freedom of motion finishes on 31December, those growers of iconic British daffodils, asparagus and fruits still don’t know where they will recruit experienced workers from.
“The Pick for Britain effort was a greatinitiative, and several have suggested that we can continue to sponsor a domestic workforce for the forthcoming 2021 year and past. While there was a fantastic response from Brits to the call for domestic workers this year in extraordinary conditions, we see from the poll results that they just made up 11% of their work force. Seasonal work on farms only is not a workable solution for all.”
Mr Bradshaw added that while employees from outside the UK are very important to the success of Britain’s horticultural sector, and while farmers have ambitions to develop more fruit and veg at home, the success story is still undermined by a constant shortfall of workers within the past four years, along with rising prices.
“The frustrating thing is that this is easily solved using the execution of a seasonal employees’ strategy, building upon the pilot strategy that has operated successfully for the past two seasons. If this isn’t in place by the beginning of the calendar year, we would be the only developed country in the world without sucha scheme,”Mr Bradshaw said.