The Tayside and Fife soft fruit industry has grown steadily at around 5% per annum for decades with major investment put into polytunnels and other infrastructure.
A no deal Brexit could be a “catastrophe” for Scotland’s £100 million soft fruit industry with the worst case scenario being that 90% of the 4500 seasonal workers required to pick the crop in Courier Country next summer could disappear overnight.
Farmers in Tayside and Fife have led the backlash against a “ridiculous” plan to issue only 2,500 visas a year to overseas pickers.
Theresa May’s bid to allow EU nationals to work temporarily in Britain without a visa is useless for farms struggling with worker shortages, says an industry boss.
Farmers are going on recruiting trips to Eastern Europe and offering loans to potential workers amid “desperate” labour shortages.
Angus soft fruit growers yesterday ramped up the pressure in their
campaign to get a seasonal workers scheme in place this summer.
A Conservative MP is demanding Theresa May fixes an immigration crisis that could leave a £100m-plus industry “withering on the vine”.
A group of farms in Tayside and Fife missed out on £625,000 last year because of labour shortages associated with Brexit, say growers.
Angus soft fruit growers are coping with a shortage of seasonal workers by shuffling people between farms to ensure fruit is picked in time.