Due to a shortage of workers for the second year in a row, there is no one to harvest in the fields of Great Britain. Tons of it will simply go to waste.
In the British county of Kent lettuce covers hundreds of hectares of fields. However, workers from Eastern Europe, who harvested the fields before Brexit, are no longer there – they have not returned. We have to hire workers from more distant countries – Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan. And here a logical question arises: are there really no British people who want to work in the fields? Laurence J Betts Ltd Agricultural Director Nicholas Ottley said:
We tried to attract the British, we tried very hard, but nothing came of it – everything was empty. We have been cooperating with the Maidstone employment center for four years, and during this time not a single person has responded. So please stop this rhetoric because this is absolute nonsense.
The situation is no better in other areas. For example, in West Sussex, 150 km from Kent, one of the country’s largest vegetable producers, Barfoots of Botley, faced a similar problem. Finding workers this year has been incredibly difficult, and the seasonal worker program has delayed the arrival of people.
The program offers short-term visas for agricultural workers. This year, 30,000 migrants have been invited to work by British manufacturers, and another 10,000 could be hired if the need arises. While the government has not yet agreed to the admission of additional workers, however, farmers say that it is possible to be late, and this must be done as soon as possible.
Luke Hanrahan, Euronews:
Last year, 600 tons of crops were lost on this farm. The battle to find workers this year has been almost as difficult. And farmers say that unless more seasonal migrants are allowed to harvest this broccoli, fields like these will cease to exist in the UK. It takes a minimum of 3 weeks to hire someone, get all their paperwork in order and then bring them to the UK. But the harvest waits for no one, it continues to grow, and as soon as it ripens to a certain limit, it will no longer meet the requirements of British retail and go to waste.
The UK government has acknowledged the existence of a labor problem in agriculture and has extended the validity of visas for seasonal workers until the end of 2024. Authorities also say they are working to bring in British workers. The main problem is working conditions. If visiting workers agree to them easily, then they obviously do not suit the subjects of the queen.