There will be a less stock of fruits and vegetables in European shopping trolleys in the months to come. Travel bans are disrupting migrant workers across the world. Many countries have closed their borders to contain coronavirus (Reuters)
One Spanish region was expecting 16,000 strawberry pickers from Morocco but just half made it over the border shut. Countries are considering chartering flights to bring over workers from Eastern Europe. Transport issues are hitting and driver shortages, shipping restrictions and grounded planes are hampering supply chains. In South Africa, farmers are struggling to export good by air and the cost of cargo flights has risen by 300%.
The state of emergency restrictions leads to less access of farmers and workers as they cannot access the farm for picking process. Union in Spain say the absentee rates are as high as 50% and social distancing makes workers’ journeys from accommodation to farms more difficult.
International recruitment is taking much time so in the UK, the industry is offering jobs to the newly unemployed. There are warnings that fruits will rot in the fields unless 90,000 seasonal jobs are filled. And farmers have called for an ‘army’ of volunteers. European supermarkets say they have enough product in stock at the moment nut all this disruption could spell trouble in the months ahead. And could mean supply chains become more localized. In Switzerland, berry farmers say their crops are headed for the Swiss market. How are farmers harvesting produce in your country?