Planning ahead crucial as farming faces drivers shortages

Driver shortages are affecting many parts of the agricultural supply sector ranging from the delivery of inputs to collection of produce, according to the Agri-Supply Coalition.

Driver shortages are affecting many parts of the agricultural supply sector. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Driver shortages are affecting many parts of the agricultural supply sector. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

This is adding to challenges caused by other labour shortages and widespread disruption to global supply chains. As a result, the Coalition is calling on farmers and their suppliers to plan ahead and maintain a dialogue.

The Coalition, comprising nine trade and professional associations involved with the supply of goods, services and advice to UK farmers, has observed recent difficulties that range from delayed imports of raw materials and delivery of spare parts to the ability to collect grain and other produce from farms.

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Driver shortages have been compounded by a range of issues including Covid-19 and self-isolation, disrupted global supply chains, and EU:UK trade difficulties to create growing haulage and delivery delays.

“Some delays are frustrating in terms of delaying operations due to delayed arrival of spare parts or arable inputs; but others, such as the supply of animal feed, can lead to welfare issues while perishable produce can be lost,” said Robert Sheasby who coordinates the Agri-Supply Coalition.

“These look to get worse as we go into the winter,” he warned.

He said that the coalition members were sharing their experiences with Government through regular dialogue and working collaboratively to find ways forward.

He said that for farmers the message was clear that requirements should be planned further ahead than normal, adding that the supply trade needed to communicate regularly and openly with customers on what was feasible.

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