Are the lettuce fields in Kent, England, which are likely to be lost due to lack of labour. This is what the director of the exploitation company LJ Betts Limited tells us, Nicholas Utley:
“We are likely to waste 30% of this year’s crop, or about 150 tons of crops… at the moment.”
Eastern Europeans, who harvested this lettuce before Brexit, no longer had to, so farmers had to look for seasonal workers in Central Asia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.
So why not hire the British?
“We were told the mantra of trying to hire Brits, we tried but it didn’t work. We’ve worked with Maidstone recruitment agency for four years and haven’t gotten a single one. So please stop talking about it because it’s rubbish.” Nicholas says.
About 100km away, in Sussex, one of the UK’s largest vegetable growers slammed into the same wall.
_ “Finding employment has been very difficult this year, and temporary employment has been delayed.” _- SaysJulian Marksthe managing director of Barfoots of Botley.
The seasonal program that offers short-term visas to agricultural workers. Giving UK producers the opportunity to bring in 30,000 immigrants this year, with the option of an additional 10,000 if needed. But the government has not yet given the permission and the farmers say, either it is too late now or it will be too late.
“Last year 600 tons of broccoli were lost on this farm. Farmers say unless more seasonal migrants are allowed in, fields like this will cease to exist in the UK.”
“It takes at least 3 weeks to recruit someone, put all their papers in order and then take them to the UK. The crops don’t wait for anyone, they just keep growing and once they get past a certain point they are no longer able to be marketed.” In the UK it will go in vain. – He says Julian Marksthe managing director of Barfoots of Botley.
The response of Boris Johnson’s government was that it had extended temporary visas until the end of 2024 and that it was continuing to work to attract British workers to work in the fields.
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