06 October 2021
FPC head: ‘Don’t blame the industry - we need support’
THE chief executive of the UK’s Fresh Produce Consortium has lashed out at the Prime Minister's understanding of the UK food chain following a recent BBC airing.
Last Sunday, the BBC aired an interview with PM Boris Johnson by Andrew Marr. FPC CE Nigel Jenney said in a recent Fresh Plaza report that the interview showed how the PM “has fundamentally failed to understand the importance of our normally seamless food supply chain.”
When questioned about the current labor crisis that is disrupting the supply chain, the PM reinforced his refusal to turn to migrant labor, saying: “The country is going through a ‘period of adjustment’ to a higher-wage economy after Brexit. “The way forward for our country is not to just pull the big lever marked ‘uncontrolled immigration.”
Nigel said: “We are a highly productive, and highly competitive market, driven by consumer expectations of being able to obtain high quality produce at a reasonable price. This system is now seriously under threat. What we’re requesting is that government supports and values the entire food supply chain, through a range of measures including a visa system during this period of transition. There’s no point in having lorry drivers who have nothing to deliver.”
He went on to say: “The FPC has worked with its members to develop innovative new solutions for the industry. They lie in making agriculture ‘smarter’ by developing and adopting the new technologies and innovations that can dramatically enhance productivity and reduce its high labor demand and by making the various sectors more attractive to a new generation.”