The world’s largest daffodil grower, a farm based in the South West, is having to let thousands of pounds worth of daffodils rot due to the impacts of the pandemic and Brexit.
Varfell Farms in Cornwall needs 700 workers to pick the 500 million stems produced every year. This year, the business has only had around 400 pickers, as many of its previous workers have come from EU countries. Because of this lack of workers, daffodils have had to be left to rot in the fields.
A scheme launched by the government in an attempt to attract workers does not include ornamental crops. The seasonal worker pilot scheme will allow workers from outside of the EU to enter the country under a visa scheme to harvest food crops. Flower crops are excluded from this scheme, as it applies to food crops only. It also excludes EU workers.
Speaking on this issue, Luke Pollard MP said:
“The lack of preparedness the government has delivered on this is shocking. I have been talking about this exact issue for the past two years, the government have had plenty of warning about this.
“Environment Secretary George Eustice himself is a Cornish MP so he really ought to pay attention to what is happening in his own backyard. This is yet another example of the government failing to prepare for life after Brexit and unfortunately it is business owners that are paying the price – literally.”
You can watch Luke’s response to this issue on Sunday Politics above.