HomeNewsThe shortage of seasonal workers will be a critical factor of the berry business in Ukraine — opinion

The shortage of seasonal workers will be a critical factor of the berry business in Ukraine – opinion

Given the high interest in growing raspberries in Ukraine due to their high prices, investors from other sectors of agriculture or other business spheres often come to this sector. EastFruit analysts recently published a handy checklist for investors looking to invest in raspberries.

However, we would like to consider in more detail one of the aspects of the berry business that will be relevant for those willing to grow not only raspberries, but other berries: blueberries, honeysuckle, strawberries, currants, etc. This is a labor factor that many underestimate for some reason.

“Ukrainians have been going for seasonal jobs to harvest raspberries and other berries in Poland, Great Britain and other countries of Central and Western Europe for many years. Therefore, it might seem that there is an excess of labor in Ukraine. However, that is not true. Labor is the main constraining factor in the development of the berry business, especially in some regions, and it will become a real challenge for the berry growers of Ukraine in the coming years.” says Andriy Yarmak, economist at the Investment Centre of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Poland has faced this problem for a long time. However, it has a reasonable policy to attract foreign seasonal workers and simplify their employment. This year, Serbia also faced this for the first time, and started attracting workers to harvest raspberries, even from India and Mongolia! In the meantime, mainly seasonal berry pickers from Albania work there.

“Industry associations in Ukraine urgently need to prepare regulatory acts to facilitate the employment of seasonal workers. Moreover, many countries have had such experience and there is no need to invent anything. The second most important point is that now we need to think about the legal attraction of foreign labor to harvest berries, for example, from the countries of Central Asia, and to coordinate their legal employment with the government. Again, there is the experience of neighboring Poland, which can be taken as a basis. Otherwise, Ukraine will plant thousands of hectares of new raspberry and blueberry plantations, and there will be no one to pick berries. The cost of harvesting is no longer a question here – in many regions it is already difficult to find people willing to work in the harvesting of raspberries, and it is getting worse every year.” Andriy Yarmak adds.

Leading international experts of the berry industry will present in more details the prospects of the berry business in Ukraine on December 3 in Kyiv at the 17th international conference “Fruits and Vegetables of Ukraine 2021. New Investment Opportunities”.


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