Monthly Archives

April 2020

British Growers News Update: Covid 19

By Company News, Industry News

Testing

Testing for COVID-19 is being extended to include additional frontline workers who are symptomatic, and members of their household who are symptomatic. This will allow frontline workers to return to work if they, or members of their household, test negative for coronavirus.

The definition of front-line workers includes the following

Critical personnel in the production and distribution of food, drink and essential goods, including those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and deliver.

There will be two testing options:

Testing at one of the national drive-through centres which are currently being expanded in capacity and location; and

Home testing kits for those employees unable to travel to testing centres which will be delivered via Amazon courier.

Please note that these arrangements currently only relate to testing in England and we are seeking clarity on Scotland and Wales. Follow the link for further information .

 

 

Pick for Britain

After the soft launch of the pick for Britain campaign, the Secretary of State has officially launched

the scheme. We have attached the official communication from George Eustice for information.

Further details about the scheme can be found at the site

 

 Industry guidance

AHDB have been working on several hubs, collating the relevant government guidance for growers to refer to:

Coronavirus: advice for farmers and growers (section on seasonal labour for horticulture)

Best practices to avoid the spread of coronavirus for seasonal workers on fruit and vegetable farms

 

PPE in the food sector

We are working closely with the Food and Drink Federation on a range of food industry related issues. One of these is the availability of PPE. The FDF has set up a small working group to look at PPE issues as they affect the food sector. This is a short summary of the position to date:

Maintaining food production needs PPE

During this crisis there has been a significant increase in demand for PPE that has led to availability issues in food sectors

Healthcare sectors must be the national priority for PPE provision, but there is a clear policy and political argument that food production, as an essential sector supporting the national effort, is worthy of PPE prioritisation

are asking government colleagues and politicians to prioritise availability of PPE for essential roles in the food sector

The food sectors listed below collectively need around 200,000 FFP2/FFP3 face masks every week for regular jobs within their supply chains

We are committed to working with and supporting the PPE manufacture and distribution supply chain and recognise their efforts to assist food production

Letter from M&S                                                      

We have received the attached letter from Stuart Machin M&S Managing Director for Food, addressed to Minette Batters President of the NFU and agreed to circulate it with this newsletter.

 

Stay safe in these difficult times.

 

British Growers Team

 

British Growers News Update: Pick For Britain

By Uncategorized

Seasonal Workers ‘Pick for Britain’ campaign

Launch of new Pick for Britain Portal

 British Growers has been working with several industry stakeholders to ensure that growers have the seasonal workers they need to harvest fruit and vegetables over the coming months. We wanted to let you know that a new website was launched today to support this effort. This is a joint Defra and industry initiative to bring together those who are looking for work on UK farms over the harvest period with recruiters who have roles to fill. The website will act as a central hub to signpost people to the jobs available and to provide information about this type of work.

The website will have links to the government ‘Find A Job’ portal to enable individuals to search for jobs by type and location. The aim is also to provide links to a wide range of recruitment campaigns organised by labour providers. The website is hosted by AHDB and has been developed by AHDB, NFU, British Growers, ALP and Defra. More information will be added to the website over the coming weeks.

We’re recommending that growers post seasonal worker vacancies on to the DWP ‘Find A Job’ website, which will ensure a wide reach of potential applicants – including those people who are looking for work as a result of COVID-19 related redundancies or furloughing. The Find a Job website has more than 1.6 million registered users.

The launch of the hub is the first initiative Defra is launching to support growers in bringing home the harvest of 2020. The employment situation is likely to be very fluid and subject to considerable change as the season progresses. Defra is very keen to work with the industry to address the seasonal labour issues and will continue to monitor take up of seasonal roles and evaluate the success of the hub and other supporting initiatives.

Link to the hub: PICK FOR BRITAIN

 

 

British Growers News Update: Covid-19 Farm Safety Guidance

By Industry News

Latest guidance from PHE for on farm situations.

British Growers would like to make you aware that further guidance from Public Health England (PHE) has been released on the Government Website which provides more specific guidance for ‘on farm situations’. The following is a brief extract of the advice. Please refer to the links below for the full text.

The Government website states that

During this time of unprecedented disruption, the UK Government is not asking all businesses to shut – indeed it is important for business to carry on.

The main guidance from PHE continues to be that all employees should be encouraged to work from home unless it is impossible for them to do so. Not everyone can work from home: certain jobs require people to travel to, from and for their work.

The guidance released 08.04.2020 is specifically aimed at outdoor businesses, which include farms, and covers instances where social distancing cannot be achieved:

  • If a 2-metre distance cannot be maintained, staff should work side by side, or facing away from each other, rather than face to face if possible.
  • where face-to-face contact is essential, this should be kept to 15 minutes or less wherever possible
  • If workers have to share enclosed spaces such as the cabs of vehicles, they should keep the window open for ventilation and they should be careful to avoid touching their face at all times. On leaving the enclosed space, they should wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or more or use hand sanitiser when they cannot wash their hands.
  • as much as possible, keep teams of workers together, “cohorting”, and keep teams as small as possible. Where possible, fixing these cohorts so that where contact is unavoidable, this happens between the same individuals

 

A link to guidance can be found here.

 

Additional guidance available here, also released 08.04.2020 relates to food processing plants:

Food safety practices in food processing plants should continue to be delivered to the highest hygiene standards including the use of some personal protective equipment and frequent hand washing.

Food hygiene guidance: A Food Safety Management System (FSMS) that includes existing food hygiene guidance and HACCP processes should be followed.

All employers are expected to follow social distancing guidance, including food businesses, as far as is reasonably possible. Where the production environment makes it difficult to do so, employers should consider what measures may be put in place to protect employees. Once staff have left the food processing areas and removed protective clothing, social distancing and further hand washing guidance should be adhered to.

 

It is likely that as understanding of Covid-19 increase the guidance will continue to be updated. We will keep you informed of any additional information. Please not that this document is not advice given by British Growers Association Limited but comprises extracts of PHE guidance.

 

 

Stay safe in these difficult times.

 

British Growers Team

 

British Growers News Update: Message from George Eustice

By Uncategorized

Message from George Eustice, Secretary of State Defra

 

“To those working hard to feed the nation,

In the face of what is perhaps the greatest health challenge this country has faced in our lifetime, I want to pay tribute to all those who are working around the clock to keep the nation fed – in our fields, processing plants, factories, wholesalers, stores and takeaways and all of those moving goods around the country and to our homes.”

The full text of the letter can be seen here

 

Furloughed workers

The government has updated the guidance on furloughed workers to allow them to take up other employment. This is the advice from the Job Centre Plus website.

If your contract allows, you may undertake other employment while your current employer has placed you on furlough, and this will not affect the grant that they can claim under the scheme. You will need to be able to return to work for the employer that has placed you on furlough if they decide to stop furloughing you, and you must be able to undertake any training they require while on furlough. If you take on new employment, you should make sure you complete the starter checklist form with your new employer correctly. If you are furloughed from another employment, you should complete Statement C. Any activities undertaken while on furlough must be in line with the latest Public Health guidance during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Full details including the link to the starter check list can be found here.

 

Operating Guidance for Social Distancing and Other Safety Measures Covering Farm Situations

We have had several calls from growers looking for guidance on how to manage social distancing and other measures designed to ensure the safety of their staff. We have been in touch with Defra about the need for guidance at this level and the issue is under consideration.

The PHE guidance for businesses is being continually updated so it worth checking the site for the latest updates. Here is the link to their site

 

Competition Legislation

On Friday 27 March the Government introduced a temporary relaxation to Competition Law to enable grocery retailers, their suppliers (directly or indirectly) and logistic services to work together for the sole purpose of feeding the nation during these unprecedented circumstances.

Businesses from other areas of food supply that would not normally supply to retailers but now wish to do so to support the coronavirus response may also seek to work together and with retailers to increase the supply of groceries to consumers. More information about the changes on Competition legislation can be found here.

 

Routes to Market

With the closure of the restaurant and hospitality trade, there is an amount of surplus product looking for a home. We have posted a list of box schemes and home delivery businesses on the British Growers website.

In addition, several national initiatives are underway to divert supplies which might have gone to the out-of-home food industry to alternative outlets.

Feeding the nation is one example. This is being led by John Vincent, co-founder of LEON. The plan is to divert food originally destined for the out-of-home market direct to the public, via a website which acts as an on-line marketplace where the public can buy from suppliers. There will be a 1-2% commission which will be used to fund and initiative involving LEON and NHS Workers. We expect more details to be made available shortly.

 

Fresh Produce Consortium – OnYourDoorstop/shop

 

In order to help keep the fresh produce supply chain moving the Fresh Produce Consortium has launched a new online platform which matches suppliers with consumers. OnYourDoorstep has been set up to provide a free of charge service for suppliers of fresh produce in a move to connect them with customers in their local area. “The FPC is encouraging local suppliers across the UK to sign up and take advantage of this valuable free service where we can connect them with local customers” said the Fresh Produce Consortium’s Chief Executive, Nigel Jenney.

For further details please go to the website.

 

British Summer Fruits Limited- Recruitment Campaign

The British Berry Industry have launched their own platform to publicise their members job opportunities, this is shown on an interactive map showing where work can be found across the UK, this is featured on their website here.

They have also diverted spend from their ongoing consumer led PR activity to their recruitment campaign. Follow their twitter campaign here.

Other crop associations have also taken a similar route, British Apples and Pears and the Asparagus Growers Association.

 

Stay safe in these difficult times.

 

British Growers Team