The labour shortage has led to a terrible waste of food, putting huge amounts of extra crops at risk, British growers have warned. Due to the limited number of seasonal visas for overseas seasonal workers, the sector is in danger of shrinking and some cultivation companies are in danger of bankruptcy, according to trade associations, just as the Food Strategy recently published by the government includes the objective of stimulating cultivation.
A survey of members of the British Berry Growers found that annual waste solely due to a lack of pickers nearly doubled between 2020 and 2021, from £ 18.7 million to £ 36.5 million. Nick Marston, chairman of the trade association, predicted that the total would “double again”this year.
“It will be more, not less, as a direct result of the limited supply of labour, as a direct result of government policy on immigration,” he said.
Ali Capper, executive chairman of British Apples and Pears and former chairman of the National Farmers’ Union horticulture and potatoes Council, said one lettuce grower had reportedly been unable to harvest 2 million heads because there were not enough people to harvest them.