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Ledbury farmer moves fruit-growing to China over Brexit uncertainty


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British farmer moves fruit-growing to China over Brexit uncertainty




Berry producer says government urgently needs to address shortfall in seasonal workers

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 and hospitality, can be exported. If enough people are not made available to do the work, the work can be taken to the people.â€

The prime minster has not replied.


Can't get British workers, won't be able to employ workers after Brexit, so looks to China (free trade) to maintain his business. So he is not going to lose out under any circumstances - the situation for most major businesses and industries in this country. After China maybe Africa - does it matter?


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Elucidate you say Martin. I'm not sure I or anyone else can explain clearly just how fu.cked up its all become. But here goes! Think of Tony Johnson, John Jarvis, Pat Morgan and all the other local political lightweight idiots that got us all to pay nigh on forty million quid for a road less than half a mile long, multiply that idiocy by a factor of fifty and everyone should be halfway to understanding just how useless this current Governments Cabinet really are. I've come to the conclusion there is absolutely no difference in ability between Members of Parliament and County Councillors. If there is, it's because some are either less ugly than others or they managed through skillful guile to secrete the obvious fact that they were completely thick and should never be allowed anywhere near someone else's ten pound note.

And as for this capitalist money grabbing chancer who's thinking about moving his wealth generating business to China because he's worried that his source of slave/cheap labour is about to run dry, I hope he moves his seedlings to the Orient and when he's successfully caused the seeds to germinate, the fruit they bear either rot on the vine or become infested with black fly or aphids.

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Well said bobby there is one thing that people have to bear in mind and that is before we came into the common market / eu how we were as a nation.My mother brought up four children while fruit picking and working on the potato harvest many women with children did this and the farmers used to pick them up and take them home a great income for women with children in those day's.During the summer holiday's they could take there children with them on the farms,so when i see Farmers complaining in the way they do makes me sick they complain about how they are affected they are all badly treated what a load of crap.They did not moan when the milk marketing board was scrapped and they got subsidies to not grow produce short memories he farmers have one thing that you will note is Farmers all vote tory.What does that mean well simple Ted heath was a peadophile and traitor to G.B signing away our rights as a nation to govern ourselves.Look before we went into this e.u. we where one of the biggest manufacturers in europe what have we now in comparison very little why because of lack of investment and and eu rules that prevent us from being where we were.Wake up people our economy is based on housing not manufacturing the sooner we get out of this Nazi based eu completely the better.

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Whilst I 'get' that many of us no longer care whether or not we stay or leave the Union, it shouldn't stop people at least thinking a little about the simple and straightforward economics that drive this particular business who now bemoan their plight and have become alarmed that the wealth creation model that's thus far created them wealth may be coming to an end.

This business employs around 1400 people from continental Europe. Whether they are permanently resident in Herefordshire or seasonal, there is a cost to maintaining all of them in the County and that cost does not fall upon the shoulders of this particular business. It falls upon you and I. The indigenous tax and rate payers who fund the public services.

The civic responsibilities that this business have, and many many more like them, is to provide a business product and to sell it and at the same time providing the work force with a safe working environment, training and to deduct tax and national insurance contributions. And that's it. Nothing more. Other than the business paying its taxes to the exchequer and complying with the demands of its local authority, there is nothing more required of them to pay and maintain their workforce. I repeat, the entire burden of financial responsibility lands on us the general public.

And it doesn't come cheap! When you consider that 800,000 EU migrant children are in education in Britain and the cost to the exchequer is around 4.6 billion pounds, surely you can grasp that the Well of cheap labour isn't as fair as one might first think. Consider the cost to your local Doctors Surgery, the Hospital, the Council and all the other free public services! You are paying for all of this. The business that's subject to this discussion isn't. It's down to us!

Quite simply, in an economic nutshell, the general public subsidise this workforce of cheap labour by paying to maintain its workforce of 1400 people. You can't just deposit 1400 people and not think that there isn't a cost. Yes, the workforce pay their taxes and national insurance contributions, but when you consider their low wage and our future pension liabilities that'll hit Britain in the next two or three decades, you've gotta ask yourselves, 'was it all worth it'.

Now we're told that China could be the preferred destination. Why? Cheap labour. Even cheaper labour and the promise of bigger profits. Sadly in this era of modernity where British creativity has got our society to where it is today after the horrors of World War2 , the EU, our Government and the ideology of Big Business and global capitalism, have managed to turn the clock backwards to a time where grafting, sweating and working like stink for a low wage out trumps the creativity and genius of a bright young mind.

Give me creativity every time! Rather that than relying on some poor desperate world citizen being forced to fly, drive or sail to a place where their creativity and intelligence is of no consequence.

Seems to me the global message is, give us your young, your fittest and your finest physical specimens and we'll work them hard and ready them for World War3 where they'll be fit and ready to be first up and on the front line to face our enemy that's as yet to be clearly identified by the European Commission.

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