NFU media coverage: focus on labour shortages

ITV news 8.10.19 labour ali capper_69445

Focus on labour

In the past few weeks media coverage has focussed on availability of seasonal workers as multiple growers reported being forced to leave tonnes of crops on the fields to rot as a result of a lack of seasonal workers. NFU members and chair of the horticulture and potatoes board Ali Capper spoke to the media, urging the Government to expand the current seasonal workers pilot scheme, referencing NFU labour providers survey statistics to demonstrate the current shortfall.

ITV News published a piece featuring NFU member Jeremy Best expressing his concern that he won’t have enough pickers to harvest his strawberries next year. The piece includes NFU labour provider survey statistics while NFU South West Communications Adviser David George is quoted saying we need to recruit 60,000 or 70,000 seasonal workers to fill the roles at harvest time.

NFU member Martin Haines featured on BBC Radio 5’s Wake Up To Money discussing seasonal labour shortages and how it is impacting his pumpkin harvest and his concerns for his sprout crop.

Labour MP Jonathan Reynolds quoted the NFU’s warning that 16 million apples have gone to waste as a result of seasonal worker shortages during Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, and was also picked up by LBC News.

NFU horticulture and potatoes board chair Ali Capper was interviewed on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine programme and Yahoo News to discuss why the shortfall of EU migrant workers coming to work on British farms is increasing and why the solution would be for the Government to expand the current pilot scheme to allow for more workers.

Chairman of the NFU horticulture and potatoes board Ali Capper is quoted in a Mail on Sunday feature exploring seasonal labour, a piece in The Independent, a special report by the Daily Mail, and The Times in which she points out that labour shortages are causing huge amounts of food waste. The coverage includes the NFU’s call for the SAWs scheme to be expanded.

BBC World Service’s The Food Chain programme cited the NFU’s warning of a 20% shortfall between the number of seasonal workers needed to pick crops versus the number of workers coming in a piece that explores the interest and investment in machines that can pick fruit and vegetables that are usually harvested by humans.

The Guardian reported that thousands of tonnes of crops are being left to rot in fields as farms struggle to recruit seasonal workers from the EU, with some farmers having to shut down operations six weeks early due to a shortage of workers. NFU horticulture and potatoes board chairman Ali Capper is quoted saying she expects he shortfall to rise at least 29% in September and called on the government to expand the seasonal workers pilot scheme.

NFU horticulture and potatoes board chair Ali Capper spoke to The Grocer's Henry Sandercock. She is quoted in the final article, stressing that uncertainty over immigration rules after Brexit and negative rhetoric towards migrants has meant that many seasonal  workers feel unwelcome and unwanted. 

NFU horticulture and potatoes board chair Ali Capper was interviewed by ITV News, in a piece highlighting the shortage of seasonal workers on farms and the impact it is having as well as the NFU’s call for the SAW scheme to allow for increased workers to come to the UK. The piece also cites statistics from the NFU’s labour providers survey.

Last edited on: 29:10:2019

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