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Coronavirus Jobs - 70,000 Seasonal Workers Needed On British Farms

24 Mar 2020

Coronavirus Jobs - 70,000 Seasonal Workers Needed On British Farms

The current Coronavirus crisis has led to an urgent appeal for up to 70,000 seasonal staff to plough their efforts into working on British farms.

The shortage of overseas workers following Brexit, combined with travel restrictions and an increased demand for daily food supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic, has forced farming industry leaders to issue a plea for up to 70,000 British seasonal staff to plough the fields and scatter (or, at least, pick fruit and veg for the masses).

The jobs could be perfect for students who might be looking for outdoor summer work options now that other more traditional seasonal opportunities such as those within the retail and hospitality sectors are drying up.

Horticulture chairman at the National Farmers' Union of England and Wales (NFU), Ali Capper said that a mixture of problems was contributing to the situation. With more people staying home on government advice and individual health concerns around the virus, Mr Capper said there is an increase in demand for food in supermarkets when compared with people dining out.

Specialist agricultural recruiter Hops Labour Solutions said that next month will produce many opportunities within the industry, with the soft fruit harvest getting into full swing over the coming weeks.

Farm jobs which will be in demand include fruit and vegetable pickers and processors, both on farms and within packhouses.

Explaining why hundreds of farming staff are needed right now, Sarah Boparan, operations director for Hops Labour Solutions said: “We urgently need a UK labour force which can help harvest crops to feed the nation. At a time when international travel is restricted and people are panic buying due to the Coronavirus, it is crucial that growers can provide enough British produce to our supermarkets and local shops.”

The plea comes amidst warnings from the UK government that there is no need to strip shelves dry in Britain. Seeking to reassure British shoppers, the Prime Minister said: “We are absolutely confident our supply chains are working, and will work, and we will get farm to fork food supplies. People should have no reason to stockpile or panic buy,” urged Mr Johnson.

Guy Smith, an ex-deputy president of the National Farmers' Union, warned against anyone seeking to make political gain from the Coronavirus crisis, saying: “This is not the time for the farming industry to seek to take political advantage, it’s time for the industry to ask what it can do to help.”

If farming is an area you might be interested in then the current crisis could be a great way to get one foot into the industry. You could also consider enrolling on an Agricultural Apprenticeship if you think this could be a fertile career path for you.

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