Brexit: UK crops dying as farms left without pickers
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Euronews reporter Luke Hanrahan spoke to farmer Gerrard Vonk in West Sussex and their ongoing struggles. Mr Vonk highlighted they have lost a significant portion of workers from the European Union and this is impacting how many vegetables can be picked. He remarked that post-Brexit red tape has made it more difficult for season pickers from eastern Europe to come over.
The reporter also remarked that UK supermarkets may have to turn to EU farms for goods as UK farms struggle.
Mr Hanrahan said: “For 33 years, Gerrard Vonk has relied on seasonal pickers from eastern Europe to harvest his peppers.
“Now the shortage of workers is so serious, this crop is over-ripening.
“This farm is 72 workers down on this time last year.”
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Mr Vonk expressed his concern for the issue as he showed the Euronews journalist around his farm.
Mr Vonk said: “We have got fruit that should have been harvested but it won’t be harvested for another three days.
“Look over here, plants that are 100 percent red.
“There are now more barriers, more red tape and it is much more difficult to actually come and work over here.
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“It has been challenging for our business but undoubtedly for all other businesses in the area.
“It cannot continue if it stays like this.
“A lot of things have to happen, it is going to be a big loss for the business.”
Mr Hanrahan closed by saying: “Five miles away there is a field of wasted courgettes.
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“The fear for farms like this one is that British supermarkets will look to the EU to fill their empty shelves.
“On this one farm, there are three-quarters of a million unpicked courgettes, 150 tonnes worth of vegetables just left to rot.
“This is because they can’t get the staff, if this continues it will force farms like this one to make difficult decisions about their future.”
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