sábado, junio 23, 2007

En EE.UU. dejan berries sin cosechar por escasez de mano de obra

Muy interesante nota que describe la problemática situación de algunas fincas norteamericanas que deben dejar fruta sin cosechar ante la escasez de cosecheros. Con la aprobación de un sistema mas rígido para los inmigrantes ilegales, muchas fincas van reduciendo su producción. Otros productores planifican la cosecha en etapas, pero a la hora de comenzar la misma se ven sorprendidos por la escasez de mano de obra y la falta de compromiso de los jornaleros.

Aquí la nota

Farmers say a shortage of berry pickers in Woodland is driving up their labor costs, reducing yield and hurting their bottom lines."We left a million pounds of fruit in the fields last year," said Woodland farmer Jerry Dobbins.As a result, Dobbins downsized his 155-acre (75 has. aproximadamente) farm by 30 % after last year, he said, and expects to make another 30 %reduction after this season.
He also decided to grow his crops in shifts, so not everything ripens at once."There's just fewer people than there used to be," said Dobbins, who grows strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. "If you were out on the street now looking for labor, and you didn't have a labor source set up, you would have a terrible time."


Dobbins points to stricter boarder patrol, and the heated national debate over immigration reform for keeping away Hispanic workers, who local farmers have grown to rely on to pick their berries. Approximately 200 people are needed on Dobbins Berry Farm to work at full-production, he said, but he has half that many this year.
Roberta Peterson, of Peterson Farms in Woodland, said each season farmers are less confident they'll have enough workers. "You don't know until you start," she said, as most people hear about work through word-of-mouth.Farms are beginning to compete for workers with other businesses, especially in construction and landscaping sectors, farmers said.
The bottom line is America wants the farms, it just doesn't want farm workers," said Ted Theony, of Theony Farm in Woodland. "Our government could institute a farm-worker program so easy, but it won't do it."Without such a program, Theony said more Mexicans are staying in America year-round rather than returning home during the off-season. Those who return home, often can't make it back over the border due to heightened enforcement by the federal government, he said.
Gas prices aren't helping the situation, Dobbins said, noting that fuel costs for workers traveling from California have increased severely the past few years.Porfirio Celestino, 38, said he's traveled to Woodland the past seven crop seasons because the work provides a better income than jobs at home in Mexico.
The risks for illegal immigrants are growing, Aparicio said. In addition to the hot sun and rattlesnakes they face in crossing the border, Mexicans are fearful of the American citizens they hear watch the boarders with guns, she said. Aparicio said the berry pickers often work from 5 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m. in rain or hot sun.
Dobbins said he was short 15 to 20 workers one drizzly morning, because they know the crop will still be there tomorrow to pick."You never saw that before," Dobbins said. "The labor force now dictates to me, I don't dictate to them."It's hard work and long hours that Dobbins said most Americans, even teenagers with the summer off from school, aren't willing to do."I virtually have no young people hit me up for a job to do fruit," Dobbins said. "If you had to rely on local labor force to harvest your fruit I'd say you'd be in big trouble."
Theony said labor shortages only add to the difficulties his industry is experiencing as low-price imported berries make their way into the country. In Chile, Peru and Venezuela, "they pay nothing for labor," he said, and their prices dictate the market.If current trends continue, Theony said American farms will be in trouble."I think America is going to wake up down the road and say 'man did we mess up,'" Theony said. "Because all they're eating is imports and the price is going to go through the roof."

1 comentario:

  1. Anónimo8:22 p.m.

    Cuando la barba de tu vecino vieres pelar, pon la tuya en remojo

    ResponderEliminar

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