Worcestershire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Pollock, has welcomed the local response to ‘pick for Britain’.
Lots of local people have answered the call from the National Farmers’ Union and applied to pick fresh fruit and vegetables in Worcestershire over the summer months.
Many EU workers who usually spend the summer months picking in Worcestershire are in lockdown overseas and unable to help this year.
With the usual workforce unable to get to Britain, there is a danger that fresh food could be left to rot.
Councillor Ken Pollock, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Economy and Infrastructure for Worcestershire County Council said:
“Worcestershire growers and agricultural businesses are a major sector of the county’s economy. The picking season in the summer months is crucial to the success or failure of these businesses and their ability to get the produce to market.
“Worcestershire’s growers have a great reputation for their high quality, fresh produce, including our internationally renowned Evesham asparagus.
“I would like to thank everyone who has applied to join the efforts to keep these businesses thriving and Britain fed during this pandemic.”
Emma Hamer, National Farmers’ Union county adviser, added: “Worcestershire is a regional hub for fruit and vegetable production and our members are extremely concerned about the impact coronavirus restrictions are having on their ability to recruit this critical workforce this season.
“The county has around 180 horticulture businesses set over 4,500 hectares and these, alongside our other farm businesses, are vital in terms of food production, to our economies, communities and environment.
“Our growers rely on seasonal workers to grow, pick and pack our fresh fruit, veg and flowers, including the county’s famed asparagus, and the NFU remains in talks with national and local Government to find innovative and creative solutions to this urgent problem.
“We are urging Worcestershire university students and anyone looking for work to mobilise behind British growers in this time of national importance and Pick for Britain.
“There are vacancies opening up in fields, polytunnels, glasshouses and packhouses across the county and we need people to help us deliver healthy, affordable British fruit and veg from field to plate.
“We are hearing there has been a groundswell of support from Worcestershire people looking for work and further detail can be found at the Pick For Britain website.”
If you would like to work on a UK fruit and vegetable farm please go toPick For Britain website. There are a wide range of roles available, from pickers and packers, to plant husbandry and tractor or forklift drivers.
Key workers will still adhere to social distancing rules in the fields.