A Dundee MP has joined the call for the UK Government to save Scotland’s £100 million fruit industry.
Growers say the lack of a picking workforce, worsened by Brexit, will leave fruit rotting in the fields and lead to spiralling prices for customers.
Angus Growers, a group of 19 fruit picking operations mainly in Angus, Fife and Perthshire, has been told it will have to wait until the end of September to see if the seasonal agricultural workers’ scheme (Saws) will be revived.
That would allow farmers to take on temporary labour from outside the EU.
Stewart Hosie, an SNP MP, said: “The soft fruit industry is hugely important in and around my constituency of Dundee East and due to the number of soft fruit farms in the local area, I can’t help but be especially worried about the future of the industry post-Brexit.
“This problem has been getting progressively worse since the June 2016 referendum and will only get worse when Brexit happens.
“Therefore, I wrote to the UK Government asking it to bring in immediate measures to fix this problem before fruit is being left to rot in the fields.”
A UK Government spokesman said: “We have been clear that up until December 2020, employers in the agricultural and food processing sectors will be free to recruit EU citizens to fill vacancies and those arriving to work will be able to stay in the UK afterwards.”