Farmer moves to China over Brexit uncertainty



Workers at Haygrove farms: Haygrove farms are asking the prime minister to urgently put a seasonal workers scheme in place.


© The Guardian
Haygrove farms are asking the prime minister to urgently put a seasonal workers scheme in place.

One of the biggest growers of berries in the UK is moving part of its business to China because it cannot guarantee it will find enough fruit pickers available to work.

Up to 200 seasonal jobs have gone at Haygrove’s farm in Ledbury, Herefordshire, and some of the company’s raspberry and blueberry-growing will be relocated to Yunnan province in China because of uncertainty over migrant labour due to Brexit.

Angus Davison, the founder of Haygrove, said: “In the UK we employ 230 full-time and 1,150 seasonal workers, but we are now reducing that to 950 because of Brexit nervousness.” The company has a turnover of £101m.

“We are already out of time,” he says, explaining that he can’t afford to wait for Theresa May to reveal her immigration policy as this year’s harvest was planned last year.

Davison has written to Theresa May, pleading with her to take urgent action. “Unless a seasonal workers scheme is put in place, you must expect to see the steep decline of this significant rural employer and source of food,” he wrote.

“It is appreciated that treating one industry differently to another is difficult; however agriculture, unlike construction

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