Apricots on the ground because no one wants to harvest them

The problem caused by the lack of labor is increasingly serious. The agricultural sector is missing 100 thousand seasonal workers, not to mention the impossibility to find workforce in the tourist, industry, construction and service sectors.

Abandoned apricot orchards due to the lack of labor (Flopria variety) 

"Italy is falling apart, and so are its businesses. This is the harsh reality. While, on the one hand, there are those looking for personnel to keep their businesses going, on the other hand there are those who stay gladly home as they receive social benefits. Every day, I am forced to decide which apricot batch I should abandon, as the work units available are not enough to cover all the hectares. At the moment, there are 45 operators harvesting stone fruit, but I would need at least another 30 to guarantee two operations per crop," explains Vincenzo Favale, entrepreneur from Montalbano Jonico (Matera) with 25 hectares of stone fruit (apricots, peaches and nectarines).

"Over the past few weeks, I have contacted dozens of people offering an immediate contract and a net wage of €45/day for 6 hours and 40 minutes of work. Many of them told me they are on state benefits (the so-called Reddito di Cittadinanza) and they are not interested in working, as it would be uneconomic. I tried contacting agencies in Apulia too, but they could not help either. I am in great difficulty: due to the heat, apricot productions have overlapped, meaning operators are urgently needed. I am harvesting Rubista, Flopria, Mediabel, Orange Rubis at the same time and I will start with Lady Cot soon in a few days' time."  

"You work a full year and, when the time comes to harvest, you do not have enough people to do it. I managed only one harvesting operation for some varieties, while others have been entirely abandoned. We were hoping that the hundreds of workers in the strawberry crops would move to stone fruit once they were done, but they preferred receiving unemployment benefits and many of them actually returned to their countries of origin waiting to return to Italy to accumulate the necessary number of days. Then there are some Apulian workers who preferred millerandage, as they are closer to home." 

Abandoned apricot orchards due to lack of labor

"The problem is that, by trying to save what you can, you spare no expense, and then of course you come to unpleasant surprises when the end of the season comes. My apricots continue falling on the ground. If there are people willing to work, please do not hesitate to contact me." 

For further information:
Vincenzo Favale
+39 3332979276


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