A group of MPs from Fife and Tayside have called on farmers to provide more reassurance that fruit and vegetable pickers will be kept safe from the risk of contracting Covid-19 while working in fields and polytunnels this summer.
The MPs, including Chris Law, Stewart Hosie, Dave Doogan, John Nicolson, Peter Grant and Neale Hanvey, have written to the farmers’ union asking for clarity on how social distancing will be enforced.
Glenrothes MP Peter Grant said: “We’re very keen to work with producers to make sure this world-class product can be picked and delivered to customers in perfect condition, but it’s also essential that the workers who pick and package the fruit for us are able to do so safely and without putting their own health at risk.”
NFU Scotland’s (NFUS) horticulture chairman James Porter said businesses were aware of their responsibilities and would continue to meet the highest food hygiene practices, including strict and regular handwashing, social distancing on the farm and restricting access to the sites to essential visitors only.
“By all working together, we will be able to ensure the continued supply of healthy, nutritious berries to UK consumers,” he said.
NFU Scotland’s director of policy, Jonnie Hall, said: “NFUS cannot enforce social distancing. What we have done from the outset is highlight what’s required and urge full compliance at farm level through safe and demonstrable social distancing.
“Farms and crofts across Scotland are working incredibly hard to continue to provide the absolute essential of food during this difficult time.
“It is the responsibility of each and every one to do whatever it takes to carry out effective social distancing.”