Labour shortages in the food and farming sector

CLA comments on the report produced by the House of Commons EFRA Select Committee
Migrant workers forest nursery business Wales (pls do not use without call to Robert Dangerfield)
Overseas workers hand-planting spruce seedlings for forestry at a nursery in Wales

Mark Tufnell, President of the Country Land and Business Association said:

“The House of Commons EFRA Select Committee report is a welcome addition to the debate about labour supply in the farming sector in Wales.

“There is much discussion in government at the moment about the future of our food security. A guaranteed labour supply for farms is an important part of this conversation. We need a long term strategy from the Westminster and Welsh Government working together to bring new people into the industry from the UK workforce, whilst ensuring a permanent seasonal workers scheme which can plug the gaps with migrant labour where necessary. As the report recognises, government is some considerable way off achieving this goal.

“There can be no doubt that the current situation is exacerbating long-standing mental health issues in our sector. The high cost of living, uncertainty in international trade, low-profitability, long hours and isolated working conditions – as well as uncertainty in the labour supply - all contribute to the mental health crisis facing our sector. The simple truth is that those living in rural communities often find it hard to access mental health support. Ring-fenced funding for rural mental health services is absolutely necessary, but currently non-existent.”