Responding to the Efra committee report on labor shortages in the food and farming sector, NFU President Minette Batters said: “Today’s report from the Efra committee backs up the NFU’s long-standing call for a more enabling immigration policy which mitigates against the crippling labor shortages and structural issues that have existed throughout the food supply chain for many months.
“To ensure stability in domestic food production, the government needs to act urgently to give farmers and growers the confidence they need to invest in domestic production and enable British food and farming to thrive.
“The NFU, alongside the whole food supply chain, continues to seek a review of the current immigration system, including the Shortage Occupation List and Seasonal Worker Scheme as recommended by the Migrant Advisory Committee (MAC) 20 months ago. This would help ensure that the labor needs of the food supply chain are met and help to shore up the estimated 500,000 vacancies left unfilled across the food and farming industry. These vacancies threaten our own UK food security, and our ability to contribute to the nation’s economy through increased exports.
“A solution to this crisis will need the right people with the right skills and training available in rural areas where many roles are based. In addition, we are asking government to release the additional 10,000 visas it already can under the Seasonal Workers Scheme, which are needed to ensure labor shortages are kept to a minimum as we reach peak harvest time.”
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