NFU Horticulture and Potatoes Board chair Ali Capper said: "The fall in the value of sterling, the feeling amongst EU nationals that they are no longer welcome here, and competition for labour within Europe and other sectors of the economy have all added momentum to a gradual fall in the number of EU workers prepared to work in farming in the UK – and particularly in horticulture.
"Labour providers responding to the NFU’s monthly survey have reported shortages of up to 17% this season, and the impacts are being felt on farm, as many of you will know. The NFU has been making the case to government for some time that seasonal labour isn’t a Brexit issue. Growers need reassurance from government that we will have access to sufficient numbers of workers next season, and beyond.
"The entire food industry is united in its stance on labour and has worked hard to ensure that the impact of a labour shortfall this year hasn’t hit the consumer – wages have increased, overtime has been worked and some crops have gone unharvested. I’m not sure we can guarantee the same for 2018.
"There remains a window of time between now and May 2018 for the government to take action to prevent a labour shortfall and the ensuing disruption it will wreak on the supply chain."
The NFU is urging members to write to their MPs and express any concerns they have over the supply of seasonal labour in 2018.