Within days, Hungarian open-ground strawberries will arrive in stores, but many producers complain that there are no workers to pick the fruit, as reported by the professional director of the Hungarian Fruit and Vegetable Interprofessional Organization and Product Council (FruitVeB).
Strawberries have not grown too badly, considering the damage caused by spring frosts to other fruit crops. Apricots suffered the most by this, but peach, apple and cherry growers were also affected. In the case of strawberries, the early varieties recorded 20-25 percent flower damage, but since more than half of the strawberry growing area in Hungary is under foil, the crop was mostly protected, said István Hunyadi.
Of course, Hungarian strawberries have already appeared on the domestic market, the expert said, as those who work with heated cultivation technology, for example, are able to bring Hungarian strawberries to the market very early. The open ground ones are the last to hit the shelves.
István Hunyadi agreed that the biggest problem of Hungarian strawberry growers at the moment is that due to the epidemic situation, not everyone has the right number of pickers to harvest the fruit. Although FruitVeB does not have accurate data, as many people don't work legally, the number of seasonal workers generally oscillates between 5 and 10 thousand.