Workers in Eastern Europe have not returned after Brexit, so there is no one to pick up the lettuce in the country.
As long as there is a shortage of lettuce in Australia, growers in the UK have had to throw away 150 tonnes of lettuce since the start of the season, a 30 per cent harvest this year, according to Nicholas Ottley, director of Euronews Kent’s largest lettuce company.
The shortfall is caused by the fact that Eastern European workers did not return after Brexit, so no one on the farm collected the lettuce. The owners want to replace the workforce with Central Asian workers called from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. This work is not attractive to the British.
There is an effort to bring the British here, we have tried hard, but they just are not coming. We’ve been in contact with the Maidstone employment center for four years, but not a single person has come here yet. So let’s leave it all
Nicholas Ottley said.
Euronews correspondent Luke Hanrahan said
Last year alone, an astonishing amount of 600 tonnes was harvested on this one farm. It’s almost as hard to find a job this year as it was last year. Farmers say if more seasonal workers are not allowed to take down this broccoli for example, such lands will cease to exist in the UK.
The British government is aware of the labor shortage and has extended the seasonal worker program until 2024. They are also working to make the area more attractive to the British, it reported Euronews.