Over 26,000 people have responded to a call for agricultural workers, weeks after the industry warned a lack of immigrants caused by the #coronavirus #pandemic would leave vegetables rotting in the fields.
#Britain’s agricultural industry has long been sustained by migrant labour, doing jobs bosses argued that Britons did not want to do. Yet that article of faith among proponents of mass migration appears to have been shattered, as the unwanted arrival of coronavirus has closed the #UnitedKingdom’s borders to large movements of migrant workers — forcing recruiters to look inwards.
Responding to warnings that the 2020 harvest of fruits and vegetables could rot in the fields without pickers in early April, a consortium of three agricultural recruiters usually more accustomed to looking abroad has been inundated with applications from Britons, with 26,000 signed up so far, reports the UK’s widest-distributed newspaper The Metro.
The paper reports that so many applications had been received, job placements were now filled up until the end of May. But to sustain the whole picking season which runs from April to August, some 70,000 people would normally be needed. Another initiative is the launch of the ‘Land Army’ mobile app, which allows farmers and would-be pickers to match.
The website for the HomeGrown Land Army app states: “It’s time to feed the nation. We live in uncertain times. Communities up and down the country are facing the risks arising from the #COVID19 coronavirus, bringing with it concerns over food security and supply chain. “We are currently connecting farms and workers to create a Land Army capable of feeding the nation… We are providing this service on a voluntary basis and there are no costs for anyone wishing to use the service – we just wanted to try and help our whole community during a difficult time.” The Wokingham Paper reports the comments of Edwina Mullins, a vice-chairman of the Hectare Club, which supports the Home Grown initiative. She said: “Helping our domestic sustainability is crucial. We have many people in the country out of work, especially in the hospitality, construction and retail industries.