THE Spanish Ministry of Agriculture has said that farmers desperately need between 100,000 and 150,000 temporary workers to harvest crops before they go to waste. It is coming up to the season for stoned fruit such as cherries and peaches, which only have a short window when they can be harvested, but the current health crisis has added to an ongoing labour shortage in recent years. This means that pickers will have to live close to the farms to minimise travelling and will not be able to move on site to live as they may have done before, attracting the out of work from further afield.
Areas affected include Alicante, Extremadura and the Ebro Valley with the latter two regions looking for around 40,000 to 50,000 pickers each. This is likely to be an ongoing problem as other crops come to ripen with foreign workers being limited to those already living here due to the border closures. Possible solutions include using the long term unemployed and allowing them to keep some or all of their benefits while also being paid for the harvesting work.