Haygrove, a large Herefordshire fruit grower, has been struggling with recruitment, like so many others. Haygrove founder and chairman Angus Davison says his company tried interviewing 2,000 British workers during lockdown and employed 200, of which 60 didn't last the first week, and only 30 stayed to the end of the season.
Davison stated that his company takes on over 1,000 seasonal workers each year, but finding enough labor remains a big problem. "We had 150 Ukrainians last year, and now the men can't come, but we are registered as a host for refugees," he said.
His comments came as he struggled to win round the locals to his plans to expand Haygrove's operations. The company wants planning permission for 6.5 hectares of new fruit-growing polytunnels on fields at its site by the Welsh border, with 18 static caravans for pickers to be placed between them. "We have growing here for 23 years – in fact, we have already taken polytunnels off four fields, so the total covered area will still be smaller than before, Davison said.