Farmers say Brexit means fewer local produce in UK supermarkets

Brexit has led to fewer local produce on UK supermarket shelves, farm leaders have warned. Reports say farmers in Kent have told MPs it is now easier to import certain fruits than to harvest them.

The visiting group of MPs were told this was due to strict limits on the number of EU seasonal workers following the UK’s departure from the bloc. It was then that Labor MP Hilary Benn led a delegation of MPs and business leaders to visit Winterwood farms in Kent to see the difficulties they are facing with labor shortages, l ‘Independent reports.

They were told the problem had affected the whole agricultural sector – resulting in less fresh and more expensive imported fruit in UK supermarkets to cover the shortfall. Britain’s Trade and Business Commission delegation, which is looking at the impact of Brexit, has also reportedly been told that British farmers’ off-season trade has been hit hard.

Previously, farmers could sell surpluses from overseas operations on EU markets. However, it is understood that the new Brexit bureaucracy means they now have to pay to get rid of the fruit.

Stephen Taylor, chief executive of Winterwood in Maidstone, said the government’s advice to replace lost EU labor with British workers and robots showed how “disconnected” ministers had become. He told the Independent: ‘The flow of people from Europe to work in the summer has fallen every year since Brexit, particularly the last two summers, and as a direct result we are now growing less and importing more “.

He called for more flexible seasonal work visas and said the industry had been “strangled”. Benn and Peter Norris, co-organizers of the commission, have now written to Home Secretary Priti Patel and Environment Secretary George Eustice asking for urgent meetings on issues affecting UK farms.


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Rozella J. Cook