The UK government has urged unemployed citizens to apply for seasonal farm work, however, many applicants have expressed frustration about being overlooked for these agriculture jobs while others have bemoaned the working and living conditions these job entailed.
The Country Land and Business Association has estimated that 80 000 agricultural workers will be needed by the industry this season.
Offers of on-site accommodation in which three or four workers share a caravan, were among the most frequent complaints on social media and in emails to The Guardian newspaper.
The move by the industry to fly in Romanian farmworkers instead of using a local workforce has caused further controversy.
Genevieve Black of south Wales, said she had been unsuccessful in applications for 10 jobs, despite being willing to live on-site in Kent, Hampshire or Scotland.
“The idea that Brits are just too lazy to work on farms is just not true,” she told The Guardian.
Alison Harrow, an England Athletics running coach seeking farm work, said she was feeling “really discouraged”.
“I’ve applied for 200 jobs and you either get: ‘We’ve got enough people now’, or you don’t hear anything back.”
The employment website, Totaljobs, reported at the start of April that there had been an 83% increase in applications for agricultural positions across the UK.
In response, Nick Marston, the chairperson of British Summer Fruits, said the business model of fruit farming had been “structured around a non-UK workforce for many years”.
“Farms are receiving large numbers of applications, and I think it would be unfair to say the industry is not accommodating the local workforce.”
Tom Bradshaw, vice-president of the National Farmers’ Union, said in a media statement that he could understand why people felt frustrated about the lack of job offers.
“In a way, the media publicity has come a bit too soon, because the jobs don’t peak until the end of May and June.”