THERE is a lack of almost 50% of the labourers required to harvest summer fruits in Spain, agriculturalists have warned.

Coronavirus crisis threatens to create a gridlock in the sector as the summer vegetable and fruit harvest season starts in two weeks and there is not enough manpower to cover it.

Even though hotel and catering industries have been closed, the demand for produce has grown as domestic consumption has increased.

Farmers however are experiencing a dramatic shortage of available labour to be able to carry out seasonal harvests on time, as well as cover other tasks such as sowing, planting, weeding and treating the crops.

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HARVEST: Farmers warn that the harvest is suffering a 40% drop in the workforce.

Although all food-related activities are permitted to ensure the necessary supply to markets, shops and supermarkets, fear of contagion, restrictions on transport and the absence of seasonal workers from other countries are slowing down the harvest and problems such as shortages are emerging.

The lack of labourers to harvest the crops in not a problem exclusive to Spain.

France and the UK have appealed to unemployed citizens to cover the rural jobs currently in demand.

However, despite these measures, the ongoing pandemic is placing an ever-growing pressure on the farming sector.

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