With the arrival of the harvesting season, farmers are looking for hundreds of seasonal workers. This is the case of Giacomo Giotta, a farmer from Conversano (Bari) with 20 hectares of cherry orchards, who has been desperately looking for workers to be employed in the cherry-picking phase.
I expected to start the cherry harvest on 11 May, but I am still missing more than 10 people to cover enough cherry orchards, located in different areas of the province of Bari and consisting of several varieties, such as Bigarreau, Giorgia and Ferrovia. I cannot find the staff, despite several announcements on social networks, word of mouth, and phone calls to those who have worked with me in past seasons. Yet I offer regular hiring until the end of June, with salary even higher than union rates, specifically to encourage people to come to work," explained Giacomo.
"There have been many bizarre requests in recent days, such as that of a person receiving the Italian basic income who said he was willing to work, but under the table, because otherwise he would lose the state subsidy. This situation is likely to set back those companies that would like to expand in an area where prevailing preference is for welfare benefits."
"I'm very worried because I'm afraid of not having the necessary workforce to be able to harvest the product, which is already very perishable. Compared to other fruit and vegetables, cherries require more attention and speed during the harvesting phases. Just a few hours of sunshine is often enough to end up with an advanced stage of veraison and, consequently, with the need to employ more manpower in the fields. In past years, thanks to the support of foreign laborers, we were able to make up for the shortage of personnel, but now it seems that workers of other nationalities, such as Romanians, Albanians and Africans, are no longer available. Every year we are forced to train new personnel, so that they recognize the ripe fruit that can be harvested while leaving on the plants those that are not yet fully colored. I hope that my appeal will bring some results (and some recruitment). To those interested in working, contact me."