The ongoing coronavirus crisis has quickly put to a test the UK’s new Agricultural Bill, as farmers warn of possible crop shortage due to lack of farm workers.
In January 2020, the UK Parliament reintroduced a new Agriculture Bill for 2019-20, aimed at addressing farming-related issues that imperil food security once the country has formalised Brexit. However, it seems that the 2019-2020 Agricultural Bill has not considered measures for addressing potential disruption in food security, when pitted against a global pandemic.
UK Farmers Raised Concerns that Lockdown Measure will Leave Farms with Small Workforce
In mid-March of this year, farmers have been raising concerns that the lockdown measure imposed on UK residents, will leave the agricultural sector with only a handful of farm workers picking fruits and vegetables.
MP Neil Carmichael, a former Conservative who is currently a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for farming, put forward a call to Britons to “work together” in helping the country face the health crisis; whilst adding that extending help to farmers would be a most welcome start.
However, in speaking to a reporter of Express.co.uk, MP Carmichael expressed doubts about the possibility of getting help from volunteers to work in the fields. Mainly because of the social distancing order that the UK government is compelling everyone to adopt. He remarked that is something that they have to keep in mind, saying:
“We are currently under lockdown orders so it is difficult to see how we can encourage people to move around, go immediately to a farm and start picking vegetables and fruits.
UK households are known to take particular issue with food security if any prevents them from having access to nutritious but affordable food.
That is why it is the aim of governments in all levels to ensure the people’s access to safe and sufficient food supply. They have formulated ways in addressing global concerns such as conflicts in trade negotiations and the havocs wreaked by global climate change. Apparently, the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic remain as threats that still need workable solutions.
Private Sector Makes an Appeal to Furloughed Workers and University Students
Julian Marks, the Managing Director at Barfoots put out a call via Good Morning Britain (GMB), urging furloughed workers and university students looking for work to help support Britain’s agricultural sector, by picking crops that will help feed British public during the coronavirus crisis.
According to Richard Gaisford, Chief Correspondent at GMB, farmers comprising the country’s entire agricultural sector, need up to 90,000 pickers to prevent fresh farm produce from rotting in the fields. Mr Gaisford added that
“Volunteers will get paid, and in many cases, receive quite a good salary if they help the country have its five-a-day needs, amidst this very difficult period.”
Juiceland, the sponsor of this guest post, also supports the National Health Service’s “5 A Day” campaign, as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO); especially now when the general public is at risk of contracting a very infectious respiratory disease. The “5 A Day’ nutrition scheme recommends consuming at least 400 grams of vegetables and fruits everyday, as a means of lowering risks of developing serious health impairments such as but not limited to heart disease, cancer and stroke.