Defra has announced that John Shropshire will chair the Independent Review Into Labour Shortages in the Food Supply Chain. Mr Shropshire stepped down from his role as CEO of the horticulture producer G’s Fresh Group last year.
He will be supported by an expert panel that draws in expertise from across the farming, fisheries, processing and manufacturing aspects of the supply chain.
As set out in the Government Food Strategy, the Government recognises that the sector cannot sustainably rely on migrant labour in light of global pressures. This Independent Review will consider the challenges facing food and farming businesses to recruit and retain the labour they require, as well as provide recommendations for industry and Government to consider.
The final report will be published in 2023, with a Government response to follow.
Environment Secretary, George Eustice said: “I want to thank John Shropshire for agreeing to lead this Independent Review into Labour Shortages in the Food Supply Chain. His industry knowledge and experience make him an ideal candidate to chair the review.
“Whilst labour shortages are affecting countries around the world, we have already boosted the number of visas available through the seasonal workers’ route to 40,000 and extended it to include poultry and ornamental horticulture, and we are working to encourage people to take up jobs in the sector.
Labour is a key issue for British farmers and farming and this report will give the government vital insight into how to address it in future.”
John Shropshire, chair of the Independent Review into Labour Shortages said: “Our farming and food supply sectors are facing multiple challenges, and labour shortages are contributing to this. This review will help us understand how we can address labour shortages and boost productivity in the food supply chain.
“I’ve worked in the horticulture industry for many years and, along with the panel of experts supporting the review, I hope we can make some clear recommendations that will have a long-term impact on reducing pressure on farmers and increasing food security.”
Adding to the review, the Government is encouraging all sectors to make employment more attractive to UK domestic workers by offering training, career options, wage increases and investing further in automation technology.
To help with these efforts, Defra is working to raise awareness of career opportunities within the food and drink sector.