Six charter flights from Romania are set to bring in some 450 workers for British farms, BBC World at One is reporting.
Fruit and vegetable pickers will be flown in using specialist charter jets to keep up with demand during the coronavirus lockdown.
The first charter flight operating between Bucharest and London Stansted will land tomorrow, bringing about 180 farm workers to the UK from eastern Europe.
The plane is the first of up to six to operate in the coming months to keep farms staffed with labourers.
It follows warnings from the Country Land & Business Association that travel restrictions imposed to prevent a spread of coronavirus were leaving agricultural companies short of staff.
One farmer in Cornwall said he employed 20 pickers last summer but only has two signed up so far this year.
He has planted 45,000 tonnes of fruit but says the future is a “big question mark” and much it may never be picked.
“There will be fruit and vegetables rotting in the fields because there won’t be the people there to pick them.
“I’ve heard of growers planting less because they know they won’t be able to harvest the products on the other side.
“It’s a huge issue.”
Brits taking farming jobs
Many British workers who have been made unemployed during the lockdown have been called upon to pick fruit to help meet demand.
HOPS Operations Director, Sarah Boparan said farmers urgently need a UK labour force who can help harvest crops to feed the nation.
“At a time when international travel is restricted and people are panic buying due to the Coronavirus, it is crucial that growers can provide enough British produce to our supermarkets and local shops,” he said.
It is understood that thousands of workers applied for the positions, but not enough to fill all vacancies.