Europe, UK, Ireland

Serious shortage of potato workers in Jersey, farmers say

The price of chips could soar as Brexit and Russian Crimean tensions have left a shortage of potato pickers in Jersey, farmers say.

Other factors including an improving economy in Poland and a weak pound have also led to a lack of migrant workers on the island – the home of the Royal potato.

To tackle the issue, the States of Jersey loosened immigration policy to allow Ukrainians onto the island to work as potato pickers.

But now, tensions with Russia resulted in Ukraine declaring Martial Law – and all men of military age are not allowed to seek outside work.

Peter Le Maistre, president of the Jersey Farmers Union, said: “Our demographic for workers is young men between the ages of 20 and 30, and that is the first group that is likely to be called up.”

The current dry weather is enabling farmers to get ahead with planting the
2019 potato crop, but Peter says a few growers are experiencing severe staff
shortages.

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