HIF outlines strategy for industry job vacancies

The Horticulture Industry Forum (HIF) has set forth a series of measures to tackle the issue of the labour shortages in that sector.

According to the Labour Force Survey, carried out by Teagasc, the horticulture industry is suffering from a job vacancy rate of 14%.

“Over the past 18 months, growers in the industry have been experiencing difficulties with recruiting new staff,” said Brian O’Reilly, chair of the Horticulture Industry Forum.

The forum has outlined a number of steps for solving this labour short-fall, which were presented by O’Reilly at yesterday’s (January 17) HIF seminar for horticulture producers at the Keadeen Hotel in Newbridge, Co. Kildare.

“The HIF has agreed 11 recommended measures that chart out a strategy to tackle this crisis and to make horticulture more attractive as a career and as a new business option,” said O’Reilly.

Andrew Doyle, Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, suggested that the possible solution is increased migration.

“The pilot permit scheme represented a major change to Ireland’s economic migration policy but it was the correct decision in the face of almost full employment here and a rapidly reducing labour pool in eastern Europe,” said Doyle.

In addition, the review of the overarching permits system conducted in 2018 contains a number of very useful recommendations for the sector, and my department will work with the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation to implement them.

“However, the sector must look at what it can do itself to improve its attractiveness as one in which to work, and so I welcome the initiative of the HIF to examine these issues in detail at this event today,” he added.