AHDB and NFU have launched a new survey to identify the skills shortage and possible solutions in the horticulture sector.
Skilled labour shortages have been reported as the most critical issue for many horticulture producers, with recent estimates from the NFU revealing a third of growers are ‘experiencing problems securing an adequate supply of labour from the EU’.
Results from the 600 growers surveyed will support industry efforts in addressing its labour challenges, as well as help improve the funding provision and better inform training providers of the products required for the edibles sector.
The NFU has said the survey will help the industry ’focus on what is required’ and ‘build a picture for policy makers and stakeholders to help underpin any future skills strategy.’
Knowledge exchange manager at AHDB, Nathalie Key, said: “With the uncertainties that remain post-Brexit, questions about building and maintaining a sufficient labour force are still at the forefront of the horticultural industry’s minds.
“After the success of our previous skills survey, which identified potential opportunities to resolve key labour resource issues within the ornamentals sector, we have decided to look at the edibles sector too.
“This sector operates in a highly competitive retailer environment, where efficiency in all aspects of business, including labour, is key.
"It’s therefore imperative that the industry has access to a skilled workforce for its future viability and growth.”
The independent survey will conclude on March 20 and growers will be contacted by phone.