Fruit and vegetable growers from across Yorkshire are calling for a more joined-up approach from government if they are to achieve the ‘grand ambitions’ for the sector laid out in the recent food strategy white paper. Without the right complementary policies producers say their businesses, vital to the health of the nation, are likely to diminish rather than grow.
Speaking on the first day of the Great Yorkshire Show, chairman of the NFU’s regional horticulture and potatoes board, carrot grower Guy Poskitt, says that while it is great to see the government recognise the potential of British horticulture, their aspirations for a ‘world leading horticulture strategy’ are being effectively undermined by their own policies.
“From our perspective, the system is broken,” added Poskitt. “We are still desperate for staff, with significant delays in accessing the government’s Seasonal Worker Scheme, which continues to offer far fewer workers than the estimated 70,000 needed. And in terms of support for investment in automation and robotic technologies, needed to reduce our reliance on seasonal workers, the sector has struggled in the past to access government schemes and those that are available are so stringent in their rules, regulations and timescales as to make them almost impossible to navigate.”
Photo source: Dreamstime.com