Coldiretti says harvest could suffer without 50,000 workers

Calls for decree on migrant flows and stay permit extensions

21 April, 09:00

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, 21 APR - Italian farm group Coldiretti is sounding an alarm on the situation in Italy's farm fields. It said that without a new decree on migrant flows for the arrival of non-EU workers for seasonal work, and without an extension of stay permits, nearly 50,000 workers could be lost during a critical phase of the season.

    ROME - In a new report, the Italian farm group Coldiretti is sounding an alarm on the situation in Italian fields. It said without a decree on migrant flows - a temporary planning measure on entrance quotas for non-EU workers for seasonal work in Italy - and an extension of stay permits, nearly 50,000 workers could be lost during a critical phase of the season. This, due to limitations on the arrival of foreign labourers as well as bureaucratic difficulties that prevent the use of Italian labourers. The Coldiretti report, "Labour and Borders in the Covid Era", was released Monday on the occasion of the landing at the Pescara airport of the first task force of Moroccan citizens to work in fields in Abruzzo, Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia Romagna and Valle d'Aosta.

    "The situation risks becoming even more critical" The initiative on Monday, sponsored by Coldiretti, comes at a time in which Morocco has suspended all flights with Italy, resulting in struggles for many businesses that can no longer count on their traditional collaborators. Coldiretti said limits on border crossings placed by many countries due to increasing Covid infections are complicating matters. "But the situation risks becoming even more critical if stay permits for workers already in Italy, which are expiring on April 30, aren't extended," it said. "This problem involves over 30,000 farm workers who could be forced to return to their home countries right at the start of the fruit and vegetable harvest," it said.

    Risk of production losses According to the organisation, the danger is "the loss of production in a time in which it is important to ensure the Italian food supply, also due to difficulties in the commercial exchange of goods". Coldiretti is therefore calling for the extension of stay permits as well as for speeding up the issuing of the 2021 Migrant Flows Decree, which should bring another 18,000 non-EU workers to Italian fields.

    (Archive image of farm workers in Italian fields. Photo: ANSA/ QUOTIDIANO DEL SUD) (ANSAmed).

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