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Are there any Spalding-area Visa workers?

Questions are being asked over whether workers on seasonal visas are helping to bring in crops in South Holland.

The Spalding Guardian has approached the Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs to find out if any seasonal workers have been granted permission to work on farms in this area amid a labour shortage but was told that this information was ‘commercial’.

The Government has issued 30,000 visas which allows an individual to undertaken ‘farm work’ in this country for six months and is working with four recruitment companies.

Agricultural workers in Gedney Drove End
Agricultural workers in Gedney Drove End

A report compiled by the food and farming industry found that there are 500,000 job vacancies and with a third of the country’s food grown in Lincolnshire it is vital these are filled.

Johanna Musson, NFU Holland (Lincs) county adviser, supported calls for a Covid visa and says that some businesses have decided to reduce production.

She said: “It is a travesty that this is happening in parallel with UK food producers disposing of perfectly edible food as it either cannot be picked, packed, processed or transported to the end customer.

“Every day there are new examples of food waste across the industry, from chicken to pork, fruit and vegetables, dairy and many other products. The food is there, but it needs people to get it to the consumers.”

Chairman of South Holland’s NFU branch Chris Carter said: “The area desperately needs extra labour to pick seasonal crops, moving towards Christmas.”

Concordia is one of the recruitment agencies involved in the scheme.

A spokesman said: “As one of the four operators of the Seasonal Workers Pilot Scheme we work closely with Defra and the Home Office. Concordia can sponsor 8,250 people to come to the UK to work in agriculture through the 2021 Seasonal Workers Pilot Scheme. During their time on programme in the UK we offer full support to all participants. We run all of our programmes in line with government guidance.”

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