The current border closures in Europe and the lack of seasonal workers in agriculture are hitting the fruit and vegetable sector hard, including the asparagus sector. Only a fraction of the required labour is available and nobody dares to make a forecast of the harvest situation and market supply in the coming weeks and months.
"Despite very different reports on the deployment of harvest workers from other sectors and people who want to help agriculture, this will not solve the problem. Past experience shows that such alternatives fail because of the hard work in wind and weather, the reliability and efficiency of the people and last but not least because of the wage expectations", Hans Lehar - managing director of the UCI in Bruchsal says of current events.
He adds: "Agricultural products and food must be 'cheap' despite the highest quality requirements, which makes cost savings necessary. Perhaps a shortage of food will bring about a different appreciation of the work and products of agricultural enterprises, which have recently been subject to massive criticism in the media and the public. If the current situation persists, it will lead to numerous farm failures and a supply shortage of fruit and vegetables in Germany."
'Threats or sanctions are out of place'
Especially now, all parties involved in this supply chain should treat each other fairly, the managing director of the North Baden cooperative pleads. "The market mechanisms 'supply and demand' are working and when the price level rises due to a lower supply, the producer must receive a much-needed surplus revenue. Threats in price negotiations or sanctions in the event of non-fulfilment of a planned delivery quantity are out of place in such a difficult situation and are not a sign of a trusting and cooperative partnership. Fortunately, the majority of the industry is aware of this responsibility and works according to the principle 'live and let live.'"
For more information:
OGA / OGV Nordbaden eG
Tel: +49 (0) 7251 8002-44
Fax: +49 (0) 7251 8002-99