There\’s an answer to this you know?

Harsh as it may sound, it\’s also a pretty simple answer.

He and his brother, Ian, are third-generation fruit farmers and produce 5,000 tonnes each year, requiring an extra 100 workers at harvest time. \’We think we are fully booked, but quite often people don\’t turn up,\’ he said.

\’The bottom line is, if there are not enough pairs of hands on the farm when a crop is coming towards the end, the farmers will just have to shut the gate and walk away, leaving good, unpicked British produce still on the plant. That is criminal,\’ he added.

Melvyn Newman, of Newmafruit Farms, hires 200 seasonal workers for his 1,200 acres in Kent. \’It\’s getting more and more difficult,\’ he said. \’Two or three years ago we had a flood of people knocking on the door. Now there are very few coming and looking for jobs.\’

Part of the problem is that the foreign pickers, once grateful for the £6 per hour a fruit picker earns for this physically demanding job, can now earn more elsewhere. \’Change that back into euros and it\’s against them,\’ said Dave Morton, who runs Aston Fruit Farm, near Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire. \’So they are now more inclined to go to the eurozone, where they will earn more money, and we are losing out to France, Holland and Belgium.\’

If you can\’t get the labour you want at the price you\’re offering then raise the price you\’re offering for the labour you want.

It just ain\’t rocket science.

4 thoughts on “There\’s an answer to this you know?”

  1. Or plant a different crop less dependent on the seasonally-available or itinersant labor.

    Or engross–by buying, selling, or ‘cooperating” your holding–to at least the minimum size conducive to mechanized processes.

    I’d point out that, here in the US, even grain farms of many thousands of acres, mechanized “to the hilt” for most processes, are still “too small” to afford mechanized harvesting and must employ huge, roving harvest units at the appropriate times. Nothing beats common (economic) sense!

  2. “The bottom line is, if there are not enough pairs of hands on the farm when a crop is coming towards the end, the farmers will just have to shut the gate and walk away, leaving good, unpicked British produce still on the plant. That is criminal,’ he added.”
    That gives me an idea of where they can get labourers from. How about commnuity service being measured in kg of strawberries?

  3. David:

    Here in the US, there has also been a dramatic fall-off in the number of available seasonal (especially harvest pickers) laborers. Many farmers have simply abandoned “truck” crops in favor of soybeans. But at least some, nearly everywhere, try to cater to consumers willing to do some of the work (picking) themselves. It’s mostly confined to fruit and berries but not entirely. It must be a reasonably successful tactic–the ones that do it seem to continue.

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