European industry representative bodies broadly welcomed the EU’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
However, in a joint statement, the FoodDrinkEurope, Copa and Cogeca, CELCAA warned they continue to face severe disruptions.
“Delays and disruption at country borders have been observed for the delivery of certain agricultural and manufactured products, as well as packaging materials. There is also concern over the movement of workers, notably due to certain border closures and travel restrictions, as well as potential labour shortages as staff follow national movement restrictions to mitigate the crisis.”
In one labour shortage example, it was warned that Moroccan workers contracted to harvest strawberries in the Spanish province of Helva might not reach the country before the end of the season.
The bodies are urging the Commission to work with Member States to explore ways to support the agrifood sector as it comes under immense financial pressure.
“Over the coming weeks and months, we urge the Commission to consider Europe’s 11 million farmers, 4.7 million manufacturing workers, 294,000 food and drink businesses (including 22,000 agri-cooperatives) and 35,000 trading companies,” the statement said.
“We urge the Commission to work with Member States to monitor the potential lack of workers (including seasonal workers) and the knock-on impact on production, and to prepare contingency plans. The food supply chain should be regarded as an essential sector in all EU Member States. - We urge the Commission to monitor the price of raw materials and transport as well as unfair trading practices.”