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Kent jobs this summer: How you can help bring in the apple and pear harvest

Apple and pear growers in the county have joined a nationwide recruitment drive in a bid to get more Brits bring in this year's harvest.

Producers have long aired fears the pandemic will impact on the number of fruit pickers available.

Growers across the county are recruiting fruit pickers now
Growers across the county are recruiting fruit pickers now

And with more than 11 million nationwide furloughed of made unemployed during the crisis, it is hoped they will support farmers to bring in this year's fruit crop.

The British Apples & Pears organisation estimates that 10,000 picking jobs will be available in their members’ orchards from August to October.

There will also be a smaller number of jobs available in June for apple thinning and summer pruning in orchards - critical to ensuring a good harvest later in the year.

Ali Capper, executive chair, British Apples & Pears, said: “It’s never been more important to deliver healthy British produce to consumers.

"Our newly launched recruitment campaign is designed to put people looking for work in direct touch with apple and pear growers who need help getting our delicious fruit from the trees to our tables.

Kent's apple and pear harvest is going to open up the opportunity for hundreds this summer
Kent's apple and pear harvest is going to open up the opportunity for hundreds this summer

"Fruit picking is hard work, but it’s rewarding knowing that you’re doing a valued job and it’s also a great time to be out in the beautiful British countryside.”

Harvest workers are paid at the national living wage and on many farms a productivity bonus is paid to workers based on the quantity and quality of their picking.

The British Apples & Pears recruitment campaign will include targeting people who had previously worked in the hospitality industry and have lost their jobs due to the crisis, as well as university students and workers from other sectors.

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