The lack of workers becomes a bigger problem as more campaigns kick off

"Spanish workers come one day and never come back"

Despite the fact that the agricultural sector has not taken a break during the state of alarm declared in Spain, providing an essential service to the population currently in lockdown, the situation is far from ideal. In addition to the structural price crisis that has dragged on for the past few years, and which motivated the Spanish agricultural sector to take the streets in the months prior to the coronavirus outbreak, there is now also a labor crisis and problems in delivering products to the markets in this exceptional period.

There is a shortage of laborers in many areas of the country where many product campaigns have already started, such as in Huelva, where the strawberry and berry picking have overlapped, or in Castile-La Mancha, where there are no day laborers for the garlic campaign. In Torre del Burgo, Guadalajara, the asparagus season is also at risk, as the usual Eastern European seasonal workers are unable to travel there.

On the grounds of the Urbina brothers, who are among the most important green asparagus producers in Spain and who export to half of Europe, they cannot count on the more than 200 Bulgarian workers who they usually hire for the season. To try to alleviate the impact of this, they have tried hiring unemployed Spaniards in the framework of the Ministry of Agriculture's plan, but it has not worked in most cases.

"We are waiting for people to come from Bulgaria. Spanish workers come one day and never come back," says Basilio, manager of a farm. Of the 50 unemployed Spaniards who have been hired in this coronavirus crisis, only 10 have stayed.

According to entrepreneurs, the losses may reach up to 50% if no action is taken.


Source: Europa Press /

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