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UK asparagus farmer could close over Brexit

From royal wedding to bust?

An asparagus farmer whose produce will probably be served at Saturday’s royal wedding warns he faces bankruptcy because of Brexit.

It is presumed the 600 wedding guests will be offered asparagus from Andy Allen’s Norfolk farm and although Allen can’t confirm, he doesn’t deny it either. Supplying the royal kitchens provides a huge boost to Allen’s business, but he warns it will not help him plug the gap in migrant workers he needs to stay afloat after the UK leaves the European Union.

The Guardian quoted him as saying: “This is the best PR I could ever have had -to be able to supply the royal kitchens- and yet will I be able to continue to supply them? It is a huge privilege to be chosen, but it doesn’t help because who is going to pick the bloody stuff? We are completely reliant on seasonal migrant workers. If we can’t get that labour I’ll have to pack up. There is not the technology to pick asparagus with robots.”

Allen’s fears highlight the plight of many fruit and vegetable growers who rely on the EU’s free movement rules to find cheap labour for seasonal jobs shunned by British workers. He employs almost 120 EU citizens, predominantly from Romania and Bulgaria. He said he was already struggling to recruit workers and fears the supply will dry up completely after Brexit.

Publication date: 5/17/2018


 


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