For the love of food, farms all over Europe from France, Germany, Austria and Ireland are easing the lockdown rules for foreign workers and fly then in with private charters in order to start picking vegetables and soon fruits. Only German farms need nearly 300,000 seasonal workers, according to Euractiv. There is thankfully for all countries not a shortage of food by vegetables have to be picked and delivered in order for all the wheels of agriculture and consumer to keep going, right? First the Germans talk about asparagus, but is not the only one that that requires cultivation. Other crops such as salad, onion or strawberries require spring work from Italy, to Spain and other countries. Let’s not forget the vineyards in France.
in Ireland the country was divided after one the local companies flew in almost 200 workers from Bulgaria.
France is also short of about 200,000 workers until the end of May – just days away, while Spain has a deficit of up to 80,000. Italy, another key player in the EU vegetables market needs about 250,000 seasonal workers in the next two months. As per usual, UK normally receives 70,000 to 80,000 over the season.
Fresh vegetables were grown on almost 2.2 million hectares in the EU, nearly half of which was in Italy, Spain and Poland combined.
As data show there is a high demand for seasonal workers to harvest vegetables and later fruits in several european countries. And show must go on or work must be done if products are to be put on the consumers’ tables at the end of the day: the total value of the EU’s output of fruit and fresh vegetables at basic prices is 57.5 billion euros in 2017 or 13.9 % of the value of all the agricultural goods and services produced in the EU. Spain (24.4 %) and Italy (18.5 %) accounted for about two-fifths of the total value of the EU’s fruit and fresh vegetables production 3y to date.
As for the intra-EU export of specific fruit and vegetables was dominated by some Member States
>>>Spain accounted for a majority of the value of intra-EU exports of citrus fruit (64.4 % of the total value), of melons and watermelons (53.7 %), of apricots, cherries and peaches (51.9 %) as well as of lettuce and chicory (51.1 %)
>>>the Netherlands accounted for the highest share in tomatoes (45.5 %);
>>>Italy for the highest share in intra-EU exports of apples and pears & quinces (29.9 %) to Europe.
All this figures made Germany fly-in seasonal workers from Romania or Bulgaria, while campaigning – as it also happens in France and UK for local people to participate in the local harvest. More than 200,000 people have answered France’s call for temporarily workers to help crop and livestock farmers desperate for extra hands as summer approaches, Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume said on 7th April. With talks also between the French minister and his German counterpart minister Julia Klöckner on the importance of ensuring the viability and resilience of European farms to guarantee supplies to consumers, according to officials of French government.
And while the Western countries have requested seasonal workers for their lands, the Romanian authorities for ex are now in a middle of a row as whom have all the people permission to leave country among the pandemic, according to local press. And this would be only the first problem, as the local agriculture lacks every year close to half of million seasonal workers.