Labor shortages are now causing almost as much trouble in fruit and vegetable production as weather anomalies!

That is why (also) vegetables and fruits become more expensive!

Labor shortages are now causing almost as much trouble in fruit and vegetable production as weather anomalies!

Because everyone has a job, they can no longer find a domestic worker for more difficult, manual jobs
If seasonal workers come from abroad, the left is "Romanianizing" and "Ukrainianizing" - that's a problem for them!
They alone do not want to do such work, as it is more difficult than constantly looking for the fault in someone else
If Hungarians living in Hungary go to London to do the dishes, or to Italy for the day, it's trendy, it's cool! Then you can convince others loudly that everything is prettier, better, and the fence is made of sausages, while waking up with a fifth in a basement room, you can enrich others by working 12 hours a day, living on hard-earned money (food, rent, travel, etc.)

👉We previously wrote an article about "expensive raspberries" who hasn't read it yet, do it. pay attention

The "unemployment" in Hungary is so great that no one wants to do agricultural manual labor, and this has certain consequences, namely an increase in prices.
Not only those who require qualifications, but there are also few applicants for seasonal work throughout the country, but also across Europe. In the absence of a better right, entrepreneurs are bidding on each other in wages, while being forced to acknowledge that the quantity and quality of the crop is also fundamentally affected by whether just enough workers get their hands on the plantations.

The main obstacle to the future development of horticulture and the development plans and ideas of horticultural enterprises is the labor shortage, even the weather and the lack of capital only after that - the current situation is summed up by the president of FruitVeB

According to their calculations, insufficient labor supply directly and indirectly causes about HUF 50-80 billion in annual damage (loss of production value) in the fruit and vegetable sector with a production value of around HUF 300 billion per year. Together with the manufacturing industry that is being built on, the damage is already approaching HUF 100 billion at the level of the entire sector.

Ferenc Apáti says that while 15-20 years ago there was still an abundance of cheap labor, now hardly anyone wants to work in agriculture and mainly do manual work. “We have come to the point where we are no longer very disturbed by those who are not doing their job properly, nor do we dare to reprimand them so that they do not stand back,” the president says.

Although agricultural work would require at least a secondary vocational qualification, in 80 to 90 percent of cases, employers must be able to work with a trained worker. But there is also a shortage of them, not because of salaries, but because today few people want to work outdoors when it blows, when it rains, when it is 35 degrees in the shade. This sector is no longer attractive to young people, most employees are 50 plus.

Although seasonal workers do not earn much: in the north-eastern part of the country the daily wage is only around 8 thousand forints, for 22 working days a month it is 166 thousand forints net, but in the central and western parts of the country no one is less than 10-12 thousand forints a day. it does not count in the number of days, but it is more typical for 12-15 thousand forints, which means a net income of 260 thousand forints.

It is not typical for Hungary that they would come to work in agriculture from abroad, the Ukrainian and Romanian labor force would rather go to Western Europe, as well as the Hungarian one - Ferenc Apáti adds.

There are no up-to-date data on the number of employees, but it is estimated that the fruit and vegetable sector employs a total of about 140,000 full-time employees. Together with part-time or seasonal workers, they employ about 200-250 thousand people.

In principle, automation and robotics would be a solution to labor shortages, but in fruit and vegetable production, this is in its infancy, even in areas where it is possible at all.
In harvesting, pruning and planting work, as well as in thinning, 70-80, but in some cases even 90 percent of the work processes cannot be replaced by live labor, the expert explains.

Although picking robots already exist, it is difficult to teach them which ripe fruit or vegetable is not. Harvesting robotics is ahead, but these machines are either not as efficient or very expensive. Pruning has not yet been mechanized, and the robotization of thinning is unsolved even at the scientific level.

Spraying can already be done with drones, hoeing and other earthworks can be mechanized quite well, but the need for live labor for these works is already low at the level of the entire vertical. For the first time, there is a chance for full robotization in the cultivation of field vegetables, such as onions, root vegetables and cabbage.

Incidentally, total mechanized field vegetable production has a few weeks or a month or two in a year when casual labor is required for weeding or harvesting.

In the case of outdoor vegetables such as peppers or melons, it also takes a lot of hands to plant and pick - but after this gives you a job for up to 3-5 months, businesses don’t hire permanent staff.

In so-called shoot gardens, where the plants are grown in a greenhouse, in a foil house, from the December planting to the end of the following November season, people can be given work virtually all year round, so they typically employ a permanent workforce. In short-culture films, where lettuce and cabbage are grown, labor demand is also cyclical: in spring-autumn, it usually takes 2-2 months.

The sectors with the highest labor demand (e.g., apricots and peaches, apples, raspberries, blackberries, hand-harvested open-air and sprouted vegetables) have experienced significant territorial declines, approaching or exceeding 30 to 40 percent, over the past decade.
With the exception of a small number of species, each grown on a small area, only sectors with a relatively small labor force (including elder, walnut, cherry, plum and totally mechanized field vegetables) were able to stagnate or possibly grow slightly.

There are two major labor-intensive operations in fruit growing. One is pruning, which lasts from late autumn to early spring, and farmers seek to resolve this with a permanent or family workforce. The other is harvesting, which is a period of 1-3 months depending on the type of fruit, this can only be done by seasonal workers.

Ferenc Apáti also said that the competition for labor is extremely fierce. Sectors or businesses that can provide work for as long as possible are more likely to start.

Therefore, in many cases, the production structure is assembled accordingly and, for example, in addition to strawberries, melons, cherries, plums and apples are grown so that they can keep the demanding workers not only for 1-2 but even 6 months.

The situation is complicated by the fact that in vain foresight, if the region is economically developed and there is industry, service sector, it usually absorbs all the workforce. In poorer regions, where there are many unemployed, it is easier to find a working hand - or take it from there to other parts of the country, but then accommodation must also be provided for weeks or months.

The president of FruitVeB sees that labor shortages have now become so critical that fruit and vegetable growers are forced to accept: it is by no means certain that they will be able to work with as many people as they need at the time. As a result, they are forced to leave fruit or vegetables on the tree for longer than necessary, which in turn fundamentally affects both the quantity and quality of the crop.

Tags: Living