According to industry statistics, temporary visa extensions to foreign poultry workers have been delayed by half a year, and Britain is facing a shortage of turkeys at Christmas.
The government said 5,500 poultry workers would be allowed to work in the UK until Christmas Eve. It is working to solve supply chain problems, but poultry production has already been reduced this year.
The British Poultry Council (BPC) welcomed the Ministry of Transport’s announcement to address the shortfall, adding: [and] May. “
Richard Griffiths, CEO of BPC, said: Me Poultry producers have already decided to reduce production by 20% due to labor shortages after Brexit. This is equivalent to 500,000 to 750,000 birds.
“We are losing people. We are talking about workers outside the UK,” he said, adding that the sector relies on European partners.
In addition to the EU worker shortage, the Covid-19 pandemic is putting pressure on the UK food industry.
Asked why the government did not act to resolve the labor shortage as soon as possible, Mr Griffith said: We can only guess about the pressure of sticking to Brexit’s idealism. “
However, the government’s visa system helps alleviate the turkey shortage as producers “desperately” seek more workforce prior to the holiday season.
Griffith said: “I don’t want to downplay Christmas because it’s important … but it’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of labor shortages. It really needs more than a bandage.”
Turkey’s shortage in December this year may need to be filled with products imported from Europe. This can confuse UK customers.
Griffith said: UK demand has grown steadily over the last two decades.Do people accept [turkeys from abroad]Probably because you have to, but that’s not the ideal situation. We want to be a place where everyone has access to British turkey for Christmas.
“What we said in 2017 is that the biggest danger is [of Brexit] This means that British food is only for those who can afford it, and it becomes a kind of two-tiered food system where someone else eats the imported food. It’s horribly approaching. “
Kate Martin, Chairman of the Traditional Farm Fresh Turkey Association (TFTA), said that small UK farms that utilize local workers are less susceptible to labor shortages, but for large producers who rely on European labor. He said he couldn’t say the same thing.
“This year, when talking about supermarket shelves rather than buying directly from the farm, it looks like there’s a national shortage of turkeys,” she said.
“This year, the shelves in the supermarket will be emptyer than before, because there are fewer turkeys on the ground, because big processors know they won’t be processed.”
The National Farmers’ Union of England and Wales welcomed the visa system for poultry workers, but demanded a 12-month “Covid Recovery Visa to alleviate labor shortages.”
Griffith said the BPC supported the union and added that poultry production is important all year round. “Maybe I’m too optimistic to say that this is the door foot we need. I hope the government moves forward from here,” he added.