Corsican clementine producers have realised that the Covid-19 epidemic has really complicated the harvests. Normally, they would employ a workforce mainly made up of Moroccan seasonal workers, but these are now prevented from coming by health restrictions.
After months of meetings, the producers finally obtained the green light from the authorities and chartered five planes from the Transavia. In total, some 900 workers will join the farms as part of the “regular introduction of labor”, a figure down slightly compared to other years (1,200).
Corsican clementine is to date the only sector in France to have set up such a system. Already this summer, Germany had set up an airlift to transport Romanian workers to its asparagus fields, for the harvest from April to June.
This green light from the Moroccan and French authorities was therefore vital for the sector. Beyond the net financial loss, a blank year would have entailed a double economic and agronomic risk. “The lack of production would have led to a lack of confidence vis-à-vis the usual distributors”, the prefect told pledgetimes.com. “On the other hand, when the clementines fall naturally, without collecting, the harvest is much worse the following year. These clementine employees are therefore essential in more than one way.”