The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) on Friday warned that while today there were still enough fruits and vegetables in shops and supermarkets, one could expect increased difficulties and price hikes in Europe.
Jean Rodriguez, a UNECE spokesperson, told a virtual press briefing here that this sector was heavily dependent on the foreign seasonal workforce, and many of them had returned to home countries or were affected by travel bans and border closures.
“The growing shortage of labor, deriving from the travel restrictions implemented by most countries to curb the spread of COVID-19, would soon be a major problem,” he said.
He called on all countries to facilitate the cross-border flow of goods, food in particular, to the maximum extent possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to make full use of existing trade facilitation standards.
According to the spokesperson, the closure of hotels, restaurants, cafes and canteens will also have a big impact on fresh produce as well as some smaller specialized companies that supplied catering. Enditem