Farmer blames EU red tape for preventing workers from coming to the UK, fearing that shops will stock European goods.

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Farmer blames EU red tape for preventing workers from coming to the UK, fearing that shops will stock European goods.

The EU has irritated UK farmers, as post-Brexit red tape has made finding foreign labour more difficult.

Farmer Gerrard Vonk in West Sussex was interviewed by Euronews reporter Luke Hanrahan about their continued problems. Mr Vonk noted that they had lost a considerable number of workers from the European Union, which is limiting the number of veggies that can be harvested. He noted that post-Brexit red tape has made seasonal pickers from Eastern Europe more difficult to cross over.

As UK farms struggle, the reporter speculated that UK retailers may have to resort to EU farms for supplies.

“For 33 years, Gerrard Vonk has relied on seasonal pickers from Eastern Europe to harvest his peppers,” Mr Hanrahan added.

“Because of the severe labor scarcity, this crop is now overripe.

“There are 72 fewer workers on this farm than there were at this time last year.”

As he took the Euronews correspondent around his farm, Mr Vonk underlined his worries about the situation.

“We have fruit that should have been harvested, but it won’t be harvested for another three days,” Mr Vonk added.

“Look over here, there are plants that are all red.

“Now there are more barriers, more red tape, and it is much more difficult to come over here and work.

“Not only has it been difficult for our company, but it has been difficult for all other businesses in the region as well.

“If things continue as they are, it will be impossible to continue.

“A lot of things have to happen; else, the business will suffer a significant loss.”

“Five miles away, there is a field of wasted courgettes,” Mr Hanrahan concluded.

“For farms like this one, the danger is that British retailers would turn to the EU to replace their empty shelves.

“On this one farm, there are three-quarters of a million unpicked courgettes, equivalent to 150 tonnes of vegetables that have been left to rot.

“This is due to a lack of employees; if this continues, farms like this one will be forced to make difficult decisions regarding their future.”

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