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European fruit pickers shun Britain

Recruitment agencies are warning that they cannot secure the number of workers needed by British farmers to pick their fruit and vegetables.
Over half of recruitment companies could not find the labour even in the "quiet" first months of this year.
The figure has been released by the Association of Labour Providers.
A survey by the National Farmers Union shows that last year there was a 12.5% shortfall of seasonal workers required to work on horticulture farms.
This led to some valuable produce being left to rot in the fields.
A total of 99% of seasonal workers on British farms come from Eastern Europe. Two-thirds of these come from Romania and Bulgaria.
Kent-based AG Recruitment and Management works in Romania to supply labour for 80 growers across the UK.
Over the next few months it needs to find 4,000 people to pick strawberries, raspberries, and eventually apples and pears. The agency is nowhere near that target, and is having to call farmers to say it will not have enough pickers for them.
According to co-director, Estera Amesz, the numbers of people wanting to work in Britain fell sharply after Brexit. A key issue was the fall in the value of the pound. She says it is also down to the uncertainty; people aren't sure what documents they now need.
"We used to have queues outside our office in Bucharest. Thirty to 40 people would come a day. Now, on a good day, it's a handful. We used to take the crème de la crème. Now, we are scraping the barrel."
The firm runs criminal history checks and the candidates do dexterity tests, but Mrs Amesz says her company has had to widen the net. She says she now considers those that, "have two hands and two legs, and stand a 50% chance of making it".
Rather than people coming to the company offices, they now have to travel deep into the Romanian countryside to sell the idea of coming to work in the UK.
BBC News
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