March 25, 2020 / 6:05 PM / in 6 days

Britain asks it citizens to help pick fruit and vegetables

FILE PHOTO: An Eastern European worker tends the fruit trees at Cobrey Farm in Ross-on-Wye, Britain, March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain on Wednesday called on its citizens to help pick fruit and vegetables to ensure a supply of food during the global coronavirus crisis - work that would usually be largely carried out by migrant seasonal workers.

Britain’s agricultural sector is heavily dependent on seasonal workers, but the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the flow of migrants into the country.

“We need to mobilize the British workforce to fill that gap and make sure our excellent fruit and vegetables are on people’s plates over the summer months,” environment minister George Eustice said in a statement.

“There are already brilliant recruitment efforts underway by industry and I would encourage as many people as possible to sign up.”

The supply of seasonal workers was already under pressure following Britain’s departure from the European Union.

Reporting by William James, editing by Estelle Shirbon

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