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World

Fruit could be left to rot in post-Brexit UK

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Opening sequence

World

Fruit could be left to rot in post-Brexit UK

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COMING UP:Fruit could be left to rot in post-Brexit UK

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Transcript

00:00:02
>> Jerzy Kropnewski spent the summer picking apples on an English farm. For nearly two decades, the 50 year old has left his home in Poland to travel to the UK for work, but this might be his last.>> It's a very pity because after whole 18 years coming every year here, I have to think that it is a time.
00:00:22
And which may change to me and my colleagues as well, that I will have to basically give up and then do the service for someone else.>> Jerzy is one of 80,000 Eastern Europeans who work on farms across the UK, from daffodil picking in January to Brussels sprouts in December.
00:00:43
But worried about Brexit, workers are leaving Britain or planning not to come back in 2017. Britain's vote to leave the EU was fueled by a cry for more controlled immigration. The government now talking of flushing out those companies that rely too heavily on foreign workers. Many of them could also be driven away by the pound's collapse and rise in race hate crimes, heading to Germany or Austria instead.
00:01:07
A potential mass exodus could cause a crisis next year, with tons of produce left to rot. Employment agencies in the sector already seeing a decline in applications. In the last six weeks, two agencies failed to find workers to fill 600 positions. And the National Farmers Union has been flooded with reports of farms struggling to secure enough staff.
00:01:28
>> Unfortunately, it's sent a very negative message to parts of Europe, meaning that often people are now feeling that they're not welcome to come, that they may not be safe when they come here.>> Kropnewski says he now feels like part of the farm's team. But that spirit is likely to change as more and more workers turn their backs on Britain.