According to a survey by the National Farmers Union (NFU), around £60m ($75m) of crops may have been wasted in the UK in the first half of the year due to a shortage of workforce.
Fruits and vegetables are left to rot in the fields because there aren’t enough people to harvest them, farm leaders tell the union, urging the government to expand a seasonal worker scheme and support investment in the area.
According to the report, the agriculture industry often struggles to attract workers because jobs are seasonal and can mean long hours of physical labor at relatively low pay. Brexit has also complicated recruitment from the EU.
The driest July in the UK since 1935 further hurt production. Producers now expect production to fall another 4.4% next year. National fruit and vegetable production was valued at around £2.7 billion ($3.25 billion) in 2020.
The crop loss raises the prospect of empty shelves in Britain at a time of deepening cost of living crisis.
“It is nothing short of a travesty that quality, nutritious food is wasted at a time when families across the country are already struggling to make ends meet due to the soaring cost of living. “, NFU Vice President Tom Bradshaw said in a statement, quoted by Bloomberg.
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