Reuters

For Britain’s chicken farmers, Brexit and COVID brew a perfect storm

When Nigel Upson checks the plucked chicken carcasses dangling from a rotating line at his poultry plant in England, he sees cash haemorrhaging out of his business from a collision of events that has distressed every part of the farm-to-fork supply chain. Like food manufacturers across Britain, Upson was hit this year by an exodus of eastern European workers who, deterred by Brexit paperwork, left en masse when COVID restrictions lifted, compounding his already soaring cost of feed and fuel. Such is the scale of the hit, he cut output by 10% and hiked wages by 11%, a rise that was immediately matched or bettered by neighbouring employers in the northeast of England.

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