Agricultural Labour Issues

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This issues concerns the expected shortage of seasonal labour this year to help harvest crops, especially fruit and vegetables, to keep Britan's food supply chains running and fresh food on supermarket shelves. The issue is that some 70,000 workers (depending on which article you read) generally come from Europe each year as seasonal workers. Wilst Brexit will already have had some effect on these, travel restrictions and illness due to the coronavirus is expected to have a severe effect, so farmers and growers are asking for more local workers to apply for on-farm jobs, perhaps especially those who have lost their employment elsewhere in the economy.

The following articles give further information.

Really helpful briefing about seasonal migant workers to help with pastoral care from Rural Presence,  a place for some useful resources and creative thinking about rural mission and ministry in the Church of England’s Diocese of Chelmsford.

https://ruralpresence.wordpress.com/2018/03/05/a-briefing-on-seasonal-migrant-workers/

16th April - Report about Romanian workers being flown to Britian to help with the harvesting. Large numbers have applied for farm work, but we need more.

https://www.farminguk.com/news/coronavirus-farm-workers-flown-in-to-fill-uk-labour-shortfall_55437.html

"Help feed the nation - work on a UK farm" This website page gives FAQs for farm work and details of how to apply for farm work through different organisations

https://labourproviders.org.uk/feeding-the-nation/

10th April - Good news - Article about how people are applying for agricultural jobs in large numbers

https://www.farminguk.com/news/-record-demand-for-uk-farm-jobs-due-to-covid-19_55399.html

Coronavirus: The impact on seasonal labour in the horticulture sector - updated 1st April 2020 - information from the NFU explaining the issues and what is beingdone to encourage people who have lost work or are on furlough to apply for work.

https://www.nfuonline.com/news/coronavirus-updates-and-advice/coronavirus-news/coronavirus-the-impact-on-seasonal-labour-in-the-horticulture-sector/

Guardian article (20th March) explaining the need for additional workers from Britain for this year's harvests, especially for fruit and vegetables, given that seasonal labourers from Europe will find it difficult to travel this year

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/mar/20/farmers-call-for-land-army-to-sustain-uk-food-production-during-coronavirus-crisis

Direct plea from Suffolk farmer for people to help harvest asparagus crop (BBC 20th March)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-51975004

In a similar vein, article encourging workers to register to work on farms this year.

https://metro.co.uk/2020/03/20/farming-industry-urgently-needs-workers-feed-uk-amid-coronavirus-crisis-12431841/

Excellent article from Norfolk NFU leader on labour shortages, travel restrictions and import issues

https://www.edp24.co.uk/business/farming/how-will-the-coronvirus-outbreak-affect-food-and-farming-1-6560596