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Cauliflowers

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL2020, tabled on 14 July 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to ensure the supply of fresh UK grown cauliflowers in shops.

Answered on

28 July 2021

Cauliflower is an important field vegetable for the UK, worth £57m at farmgate in 2019[1]. Defra is taking a number of steps to ensure our delicious home-grown cauliflowers are supplied to shops in both the short- and longer-term.

On 22 December 2020, the Government extended the Seasonal Workers Pilot into 2021, with up to 30,000 visas available, granted for workers to come to the UK, from EU or non-EU countries, for a period of up to six months to pick and package fruit and vegetables on our farms.

In 2021 and beyond, agricultural and food businesses will continue to be able to rely on EU nationals living in the UK with settled or pre-settled status. Over 5.1 million EU citizens and their families have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).

Defra is working with industry and the Department for Work and Pensions to raise awareness of career opportunities within the food and farming sectors among UK workers.

We will also explore the potential for automation to meet future labour demands of the sector. Defra is leading on a review of automation in horticulture, which will cover both the edible and ornamental sectors in England. The review will support the overall aim of reducing the sector’s dependency on seasonal migrant labour.

Defra is aware of the impact haulier shortages could have on the supply chains, including for horticulture products like cauliflower. We are working closely with the sector to understand these impacts. Overall, the UK’s food supply is highly resilient. The food industry is well versed in dealing with scenarios that can impact food supply.

[1] Provisional statistic Latest horticulture statistics - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)