Challenging times for daffodil farm forces plan for caravans for 400 migrant workers

Hundreds of migrant workers are to be housed in static caravans at a farm because of the combined effects of Covid-19 and Brexit.

Varfell Farm has written to neighbours to tell them that the static caravans being put in place on site will accommodate 400 workers needed to harvest daffodils during December.

The agri-business, previously known as Greenyard Flowers, employs 50 permanent year-round staff but that figure grows to up to 650 during the harvest period with many pickers being migrant workers from Eastern Europe.

In his letter to residents, Simon Gardner, the director of the farm near Gulval, said that under pre-coronavirus ‘normal’ circumstances, the extra pickers would be accommodated on the farm as well as in local holiday parks, surfers’ lodges and campsites, but the pandemic had forced the business to invest in the temporary accommodation on site.

Daffodils left to rot during lockdown in a field near Penzance.(Image: Greg Martin)

“This year things are much more challenging,” he said. “The availability of suitable local accommodation is much reduced. Sites are either closed, being used for other purposes or unable to provide the satisfactory levels of care protection and controls required to house staff during these very difficult Covid times.”

He added: “These problems are also compounded by doubts and the changing regulations concerning Brexit. In short, the farm faces its most difficult harvest ever with regards to staffing.”

Mr Gardner said that if Varfell Farm does not house 400 of the 650 staff required on site, the harvest will fail and so will the business.

Source: Cornwall Live