We supply just over 1,000 tonnes of broccoli but we ended up coming up short on that contract.
He must employ at least 30 people in the peak months of August to November but said he had “15 per cent fewer people than I would have liked” last year.
He said: “We simply could not harvest everything and as a result we left produce in the field to rot.
“Immigration is a political hot potato, but it is important to note that these seasonal workers would have next to no impact on the UK’s net immigration figures as, seasonal workers would all return home.
“If the political climate in England makes it difficult to introduce a seasonal workers scheme there, I am certain a pilot would be well received in Scotland.” The SNP’s Europe spokesman Stephen Gethins MP said the UK Government’s “lack of action” to help farmers and other food and drink producers “will mean higher prices and more waste”.
“This year, there has been a shortage of between 10 and 20 percent of seasonal workers coming from the EU.
To tackle that it is essential that we have a UK Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme in place for 2018 with work permits for up to 20,000 workers from outside the EU.” NFU Scotland’s Horticulture Committee Chairman, James Porter, who grows soft fruit in Carnoustie, said there is “hardly a punnet of Scottish strawberries or a head of broccoli that isn’t picked by non-UK workers”.He added: “It’s increasingly apparent that taking us out of the EU will impact across a range of sectors affecting each and every one of us – this includes the food and drink sector where farmers and other businesses rely on workers from across the EU who harvest the food that we eat.” A spokeswoman for the Department of Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs, which Michael Gove runs, said: “We recognise securing a strong agricultural workforce is crucial as we develop a new approach to farming outside the EU.“The Government has commissioned advice from the Migration Advisory Committee to better understand reliance on EU migrant workers across the wider economy and we will work closely with our food and farming industry to consider their specific needs.” FARMER FORCED TO LEAVE ENOUGH FOOD TO FEED 15,000 IN FIELDS TO ROT James Orr produces broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, carrots and parsnips at Milton of Blebo Farm outside St Andrews.“We’re quite big players but Brexit means that is now at risk,” Orr added.“It would effectively be imported if we can’t produce it.” Readers’ comments: You are personally liable for the content of any comments you upload to this website, so please act responsibly.“We have to decide whether we have the confidence to put the crop in the ground not knowing whether we’re going to have enough hands to harvest it,” he said.