08 april 2020
5 min

What do farmers from different countries do during the coronavirus epidemic?

What do farmers from different countries do during the coronavirus epidemic?

As doctors around the world continue to fight the coronavirus pandemic, people in other professions have no choice but to adapt to quarantine and try to somehow conduct their activities.

We looked at what farmers in different countries of the world are doing under the current conditions, as well as how various restrictive measures are affecting agriculture.

Unemployed French were called in to go "into the fields"


The head of the Ministry of Agriculture of France Didier Guillaume called out to people who lost their jobs because of the coronavirus epidemic to join the "great army of agriculture" and come to the aid of farmers. According to him, the industry has a deficit of 200 thousand jobs.

“I appeal to all women and men who no longer work: waiters in restaurants, hotel managers, hairdressers ... I offer them to join the great army of French agriculture. To those thanks to whom we can eat healthy", Didier Guillaume announced. “In order to feed the French, you need to produce (food)”.

He noted that the French, who will respond to the call of the authorities, will be able to replace seasonal workers who came to France from other countries.“ Previously, foreigners were engaged in harvesting, but they can no longer come. However, this is necessary for the industry”, stated the head of the department.

According to France Info, those who wish to respond must submit applications on the website "Working hands - so that the plates are not empty." Already in the first hours of the resource’s operation, 12,400 applications were received, said Christian Lambert, head of the FNSEA French farmers trade union. Representatives of the authorities assured that they will monitor compliance with all precautions related to the spread of coronavirus.


British farmers urge compatriots to go to pick fruits and vegetables


In the UK, farmer groups are warning that labor shortages in the context of the coronavirus pandemic could affect the supply of fruits and vegetables. Farmers urge everyone who is capable of physical work to support the manufacturing sector. The berry industry also confirmed that it would soon begin a recruitment campaign to encourage the British to work on farms, writes Fruit-inform with reference to Farmiguk.

Last year's data show that 98% of fruit and vegetable pickers were from outside the UK. The National Land and Business Association (CLA) believes that there may be a shortage of 80,000 workers due to the crisis caused by Covid-19.

“The lack of eighty thousand employees is something that we have never seen before. That is why we urge people from other industries to help farmers feed the country. Time is of the essence”, stated CLA President Mark Bridgman.

The current economic effect of coronavirus in the UK has already led to the loss of thousands of jobs. According to Bridgman, in order to fix this, employees of different companies can undergo retraining for agricultural work.


Farmers in the Netherlands fear shortages of manpower


In the Netherlands, the vegetable growing season will soon begin, but many employees from other countries will not be able to come due to quarantine measures, writes

This is why LTO Arbeidskracht, through its website, has contacted Dutch residents to help farmers.

“We need hands now, we are in a critical situation,” says Yvonne van de Ven of LTO Arbeidskracht.

“The season is beginning, so we need staff. It is for this reason that we created the platform. We want people who are in the Netherlands to now be able to work in the agricultural sector and, thus, support the country's food supply”, the specialist explained.

Employers in agriculture and horticulture can find staff through the website. The creators of the platform note the high interest and many offers from both sides.

“There are a huge number of companies that report a shortage of people, but on the other hand, there are also companies that have idle staff,” says Yvonne van de Ven. “We just received an email from a transport company that has its workload lessenned. Now they are ready to work in the agricultural sector”.


Germany has no one to harvest asparagus

In Germany, the asparagus season has begun. This delicious vegetable, appreciated by the ancient Romans, is especially popular with the Germans. But this spring, its value has especially increased.

Due to quarantine measures in connection with the coronavirus pandemic, there is no one to harvest! Typically, around 300,000 seasonal workers from Eastern Europe are employed to harvest field asparagus in Germany. This year their entry was banned and then allowed, but the number of people is very limited. In order to support farmers and attract people to Germany fields, for example, students and those who have lost their jobs due to the crisis caused by the pandemic, the Ministry of Agriculture of Germany initiated the creation of a special online platform where one can post job vacancies or offer services.

On average, every resident of Germany eats 1.7 kg of asparagus per year. It is slightly boiled or steamed. In the classic form, asparagus is eaten with boiled potatoes and ham with bechamel sauce.


The clear trend in agriculture in connection with the epidemic is understandable - many countries are faced with the lack of seasonal workers. But while in Europe they are trying to close the labor shortage in various ways, in other countries of the world farmers are trying to provide moral support to doctors who are directly fighting the epidemic.

Chicken Flash mob in China

Screenshot from video

The Chinese farmer decided to thank the doctors who cured him of the coronavirus in an unusual way. With the help of a bag of grain, Shan Yukan outlined the shape of a health worker on the field, and the hens pecking the food “animated the picture”.

In this sort of a flash mob, 4 thousand chickens took part, it took 100 kilograms of bird food. The process took 4 hours. Timelapse technology helped to see what happened. Gratitude towards the doctor who helped the farmer get on his feet, and to all the doctors who are fighting the dangerous virus.

You can watch the video here.


1.5 thousand tulips to doctors of Tbilisi hospitals

A 63-year-old resident of the Kakheti village of Kolagi presented 1.5 thousand tulips to doctors and nurses of three Tbilisi clinics that receive and treat patients with coronavirus.

Kako Jeyranashvili has his own flower farm. Tulips are not only his hobby, but also the only source of his income, the News-Georgia agency reports. This year, on his land, he has grown up to 5 thousand tulips of various sorts for sale. Jeyranashvili planned to sell them at the Navtlugi wholesale market in Tbilisi. As he usually does every spring. However,  they failed to sell a single tulip - in times of a pandemic, economic activity in Georgia was minimized. All flower shops have been closed for almost a month.

The story of Kako Jeyranashvili was highlighted by many media. The gardener admitted to reporters that he was very upset and did not even want to see flowers anymore. Jeyranashvili spent all his savings on the purchase of bulbs. And since his household is family-owned, he still cannot count on state assistance.

This story has touched many users of the Georgian Facebook segment. Social networks began to raise money to help the owner of the tulip garden in Kolagi. One of the initiators of fundraising, artist Mariam Natroshvili, said on Thursday that they had already managed to collect 5 thousand lari — twice the expected income of Jeyranashvili.

Today, part of the tulips from the farm were collected. Social media users who helped the Kakheti gardener brought the flowers to Tbilisi. They were presented to the medical staff of three clinics in Tbilisi - the Republican Hospital, Bochorishvili Clinic and the Central Infectious Hospital. In boxes with flowers notes with words of gratitude were put. Photos where doctors and nurses are posing with bouquets were arranged by the organizers of the action on social networks.


Whether we like it or not, the coronavirus pandemic has already had an impact on agriculture in many countries around the world. Some farmers experience it in a relatively mild form, while others, on the contrary, are forced to even get rid of the crop. Thus, tons of Chinese farmers got rid of strawberries, which can be infected with coronavirus. Also they threw tons of ripe berries into the river, because they cannot sell it to other countries. The video was published by "Shishkin les live" Telegram channel.


People involved in the agricultural sector, as well as representatives of other industries, can only hope that the actions of the authorities and doctors will help to cope with the epidemic relatively quickly, and until this happens, try to adapt to changing conditions.


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