Farmers are on the verge of collapse as a ‘massive hole’ in the number of fruit pickers is created by Brexit.
It is said that Brexit has resulted in a “huge hole” in the amount of people traveling to the UK to pick fruit during the summer months, placing farms “on the verge of bankruptcy.”
The number of seasonal workers seeking for jobs at one Kent-based company has dropped by 90% in the last two years, raising concerns about the future.
The labor market has been “tighter and tighter” in recent years, according to Stephen Taylor, managing director of Winterwood Farms Ltd.
He believes that the impact of Brexit on the migration of labor to UK farms would only worsen.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) stated it will “always back our farmers and growers” and ensure that producers across the UK have the support and personnel they require.
We’re not talking about a few tens of thousands of people losing their jobs in the UK; we’re talking hundreds of thousands.
“95 percent of all fruit and food picked and packaged in this country is done by eastern Europeans,” Mr Taylor told the PA news agency.
“From the end of June, persons who do not have pre-settled status, at the very least, will be unable to work.
“We’re not talking about a few tens of thousands of people losing their jobs in the UK; we’re talking hundreds of thousands.
“Wow, that’s a huge hole.”
Mr Taylor’s company used to receive about 20 applications per day from people seeking to come to the UK to pick fruit, but now only receives two per day.
“Right now, we’re on the verge of something,” he remarked.
Winterwood Farms Ltd manages over 2,000 acres of agriculture in the United Kingdom, France, Poland, and South Africa, packaging and distributing fruits to retailers and supermarkets.
They are the largest blueberry farmers in Europe and Africa.
Mr Taylor said they’re busy getting ready for the summer season at their location near Maidstone, Kent.
Mr Taylor mentioned the UK’s unemployment rate, which was 4.8 percent for those aged 16 and up in January. (This is a brief piece.)