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UK: Lack of EU seasonal workers may affect veg prices in Christmas week

British farmers warn that the decline in the number of seasonal workers from Europe coming to work in the UK will also affect the British Christmas table.

The decline in the pound's value after the vote for Brexit is causing seasonal workers to stop working in the UK and farms are unable to find workers for thousands of harvesting jobs, writes

"Producers are very concerned, wondering where the labour force they need will come from," said Ali Capper, president of the Department of Horticulture at the National Farmers' Union.

She said that in the worst case scenario, farmers won't be able to honour the orders they got, which will lead to a lack of food on the supermarket shelves. The crisis could affect the production of Brussels sprouts, but also other vegetables, including carrots, parsnips and potatoes.

A Lincolnshire farmer, Mike Capps, who plans to harvest about 150 tonnes of Brussels sprouts for the Christmas week, said it's getting harder to recruit workers. The UK is feeling the shortage of Romanian seasonal workers, as well.

The National Farmers Union estimates that 12% of the 60,000 seasonal jobs in the field of fruit and vegetable harvesting remain vacant.

The drop in value of pound sterling has made wages lower when converted into currencies such as the Euro, the Polish zloty and the Bulgarian leu, writes the British publication.

If this crisis continues, farmers may have to raise wages, which would consequently entail a rise in supermarket prices.


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