Chilean agricultural producers are concerned about the lack of workers there is for fruit growing, as was showcased by a survey carried out by Fedefruta. The president of the union, Jorge Valenzuela, met with the Minister of Labor, Patricio Melero, to publicize the results of said consultation and propose solutions.
According to Fedefruta, 50.5% of the people surveyed said that the availability of workers dropped by 50% to 70% this season. "Today, in mid-July, making projections can be very complicated because we have 50% fewer people to do the jobs," stated the president of the union. If this situation continues in summer, producers will be unable to harvest 20% to 30% of the production, he added.
More than 48% of the producers assured that they had increased salaries by 20% to 30%, while 27.8% said they had increased them by 40% to 50%. Despite this, there was a 48% deficit of workers for citrus crops in the Coquimbo region, which meant that 23% of the production could not be worked.
The guild's bases propose implementing campaigns in rural municipalities and educational establishments (universities and technical training centers) to attract students to work in the fields during the harvests, an initiative that is approved by 87% of those surveyed.
Analyzing the reasons with producers
Jorge Valenzuela invited the president of the SNA, Cristian Allendes, to participate in Fedefrutas' # WednesdayOnline to analyze the figures produced by the survey and to talk with more than 650 producers who attended the activity via Zoom and YouTube.
92% of the people surveyed said that one of the reasons there was a lack of labor is that workers fear losing their state support if they sign a work contract. "There is a misinformation issue because the workers won't lose their state support by having a contract," Valenzuela said.
36% of the people surveyed stated that lack of foreign workers, due to the closure of borders, also had an incidence in the issue. In addition, 28% of the female workers have not been able to leave their homes because they are performing household duties.
20% also indicated that workers show fear of contracting COVID-19.
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