One of the UK’s leading berry producers has moved part of its raspberry and blueberry production to China’s Yunnan province as it is no longer sure of being able to recruit seasonal workers, most of whom come from eastern Europe. The company’s founder, Angus Davison, said,
“In the UK, we employ 230 full-time and 1,150 seasonal workers, but we are now reducing that to 950 because of Brexit nervousness. We are already out of time and can’t afford to wait for Theresa May to reveal her immigration policy as this year’s harvest was planned last year.”
Other farmers have warned that there is a risk that food will be left to rot in the fields.
In a letter sent to the UK Prime Minister Theresa May, Davison wrote: “Unless a seasonal workers scheme is put in place, you must expect to see the steep decline of this significant sector.” Others have pointed out that as margins are so tight in the supply chain from farm to fork, producers cannot afford to “wait and see” on immigration policy.